30 May 2011

memorial day

my dad served in world war II before we were born. he never talked about the war when we were kids, despite our curiosity about it. the only instance i recall was when one of us innocently drew a swastika and he got angry. as he got older, though, and newer memories escaped him, only distant ones remained and he talked more freely to his adult children about them. 

my father was an air force navigator in a bomber and flew missions over europe. he told the story of a young serviceman from the south who was his friend and the bombardier on his plane. during one flight, my dad's plane was struck by another coming out of a cloud bank. the bombardier was ejected from the plane and my father watched in horror as he fell to earth and his death over france. they were both in their early 20s.

this is the only first-person account of war i know. i think of it when i see a veteran in uniform, when i read  of a soldier's death, when i pray for friends' sons and daughters serving in far-off places. i imagine how many other deaths there are like this one - and worse. and i am overcome with feelings of sorrow and disbelief. remembering what this day is about, bless those who keep us safe and free, those who have served us in the past, and those who have selflessly given their lives for our freedoms. 


RedWriter said...

In 2007 I lost my cousin in Iraq. He was over there with the Medical Corps teaching First Aid and someone blew up his tank. I feel the same as you when I see a Military union, pride yet a sense of sorrow. We don't have your memorial day over in the UK, but I wish you a happy one all the same. xx

chris said...

RedWriter: so sorry about the loss of your cousin. even though you don't have the holiday we have, i know you must think of him every day. thank you for the comment.

Kay said...

My Dad was a WWII vet too. He was a Marine in the first wave of Iwo Jima. He told my brothers some of the events he survived but rarely told my sister and I anything..except the absurd things and humorous things that happen even in the midst of war. He made it sound like a MASH episode..he was a very funny man. But he hated the Japanese from then on. He had seen horrible things and could never forgive them for the things he saw that they did. My Father - in -law was in N. Africa and Italy in the Army. My Dad's brother was in the Air Force over France and Germany. Such horrors they survived made them never take their lives for granted. They all lived exemplary lives..I miss them too much.