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Thanks, Dad. November 12, 2007

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
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To my father, who served aboard an aircraft-carrier in WW2, and to my Uncle Trefle Alfonse, who spent a lot of that war face-down in the mud in Italy, I Thank You.

My Dad had the unenviable job of disarming the many unexploded Japanese bombs which embedded themselves into the deck of the carrier Randolph. He would literally straddle the unexploded ordinances and take them apart, screw by screw, wire by wire, until they were harmless.

I can’t imagine that. I can’t imagine having to do what my Father did.

Dad, Raoul, you’re my hero and always will be.

I love you, man.

Regarding Memorial Day May 26, 2007

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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So the world goes ‘round, the rivers flow, and once again it’s Memorial Day in the Good Ol’ U.S. of A.

It’s so nice to live in a country where we take time to remember and honor our family and friends who had the courage and fortitude to step up to the plate, take one for the team, and sadly, pay the Ultimate Price for our freedom.

My father was on an aircraft carrier in WWII, the USS Randolph. He survived the experience and came home to marry my Mom and raise two wayward boys. He seldom talked about his time at sea, but got together yearly with his surviving Buds from the ship, making the pilgrimages to Pennsylvania and Rhode Island into little family mini-vacations. We had fun, and it obviously meant a lot to him to stay connected to these men.

Over the years my brother and I watched our father struggle with bouts of depression, saw how he buried himself in his work, were vaguely aware of how he feared any idle moment in which his Troubled Past might intrude upon his Peaceful Present. Long before PTSD became a common diagnosis for the damaged condition of men returned from war, men who had seen the unthinkable, we saw the price Our Father had paid to secure our freedom.

I buried my Dad last year, and as he lost his strength of will, what he had held inside for sixty years came tumbling out. This proud man, in his eighties, woke screaming in the night from the memories of his best friend’s head being removed by flying metal as he stood at my Dad’s side; from the screams of his comrades being burned alive in munitions explosions; from the stench he could never forget, of scraping their burnt flesh off of bulkheads with a God damned putty knife.

He did these things so we could be free.

He did these things so his children wouldn’t have to.

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As I write this, the grandchildren of that Greatest Generation are fighting and dying in Iraq, or coming home carrying the heavy weight of what they’ve seen and done, to be forever burdened with images of their friends’ last gasping breath, of bleeding, limbless children, of wailing mothers holding the scorched bodies of their infants.

How will we honor this newest generation of American Heroes? By hiding their flag-draped coffins from public view, as though their sacrifice isn’t worth noting? By providing them with third-rate health care when their injuries end their usefulness to The System? By prosecuting them for their transgressions when the psychological damage they’ve endured drives them to drugs, alcohol or domestic violence?

By continuing to fund the political juggernaut which spends their lives like some devalued currency in an illegal war of aggression?

On this Memorial Day I suggest that We The People can do better. I suggest that we honor and support our troops by demanding that their lives not be wasted on hegemaniacal junkets for the profits of the well-connected. I implore each of us to hound our elected officials into doing what’s right and moral. I pledge to raise my voice against the policies of a government which purports to act in my name.

And I pray that my Father will forgive me for having let it come to this.

 

Have a meaningful Memorial Day.