I’m looking for a celebration more meaningful than a few lines on facebook about “ultimate sacrifice” and “saluting heroes.”
What did any of these men do in their respective world wars? Why did they join? What did they see? What were they like before the war and how did their time in the military change them?
And how did what they saw, what they did, what they didn’t do or see trickle down to me?
That information isn’t on ancestry.com and god knows they weren’t talking. They’re long gone now, so it’s up to me to try to pan out and see the patterns. Of course, it’s all just a wild guess. A game.
It’s the pauses between notes that make the music. Maybe it’s the secrets, everything left unsaid that makes the life.
I think a lot of people, including me, clammed up when a civilian asked about battle, about war. It was fashionable. One of the most impressive ways to tell your war story is to refuse to tell it, you know. Civilians would then have to imagine all kinds of deeds of derring-do. (p 20)
Still, I believe in noble intent, in idealism. And I believe many people join the military to defend big ideas. I think that’s honorable even though I come down on the side of Bono who said “their lives are bigger than any big idea.”
Since I went off the sertraline, now nine days ago, I find myself occasionally overcome with emotion. I kid you not, I googled it and there is a term for this — EMOTIONAL INCONTINENCE. (good god we have to pathologize everything. maybe those clammed up veterans weren’t totally off-base)
Anyway, get your Soul Depends or whatever you need and listen to this story from today’s Morning Edition on NPR. WWII soldiers known as Doolittle Raiders gather in Dayton every year. Actually this was their last gathering.
In 1959, officials in Tucson, Ariz., presented the Raiders with a set of 80 name-engraved, silver goblets. They’re kept in a velvet lined box, and after each year’s toast, the goblets of those who have died are turned upside down. Four remain upright.
Listen and feel, despite cynicism. Honor and respect, despite imperfection and everything that will remain unsaid.