Friday, November 12, 2010

A tardy Veterans Day thought or two

This post began as a comment at Obsidian Wings.

The draft was abolished when I was a child, and I never enlisted. Closest I got to military service was doing yard work for a retired Army recruiter, a major who had been a rifleman in France, 1944. His house was filled with WWII memorabilia, and the war was never far from his conversation.

My father was always matter-of-fact about his Korean War service. He was in Air Force reconnaisance. His particular job on the night flights had been automated but not yet eliminated. So his biggest worry was having enough comic books to read while aloft. Presently he asked for and received a transfer to the photography lab.

Most of my uncles fought in WWII. One had enlisted in the National Guard because of hard times in the depression. His unit was called up after Pearl Harbor, and he fought across North Africa and Europe til VE Day. In 1995, I visited another uncle who had served in the Italian campaign. I asked if he was paying attention to all the 50th anniversary commemorations. He shook his head no. "I saw all the war I want to see, and I don't want to see it no more," he said, his voice trembling with more than just advanced age.

Thanks to them all.