Recently I’ve been drawn to military stories, documentaries, movies and the like. I’ve always been interested but for whatever reason the interest became heightened.
I find myself reflecting on the scenes described or shown and I try to imagine what any of it was like. What would I be, how would I act, how would I survive, and if I did, how would I cope?
Many of the scenarios I imagine, even as far from reality as someone whose never seen a battle can guess; I do not fare so well. I know I want to, but I have no context in which I can pretend I would be anything great. I hope I’m wrong. And I hope I never know.
I think of those who did not make it. The young ones who ended their lives so suddenly and so short. The good and the bad. What a loss. What a loss for their families. What a loss for humanity. Another person who might have a valid opinion when a country thinks of war. Another person who understands the price.
Yesterday I remembered that I have an uncle who did not return from WWII. Obviously I never met him and he died when my mother was 3, she did not know him either. I have no idea who he was, what he thought, or what he could have become. But I know he died. And I know that other than a faint memory of visiting his gravesite (headstone actually, his body is in the Philippines), I’ve never paid any respects to him.
I corrected this today, I found his headstone, near to my grandparents. It was heavily over grown and soiled with sod, dirt and mildew. My baby and I cleared out from around the flush mounted stone; as much as we could with our hands and paid our respect. I’m ashamed that I haven’t done this before today and I will be returning to do some long-term maintenance later on.
I am proud, of what of what my country was asked to do. The US has some faults and political decisions sometimes cloud our values and desires as a people but as a whole, I’m proud.
The sacrifice of my Uncle Harold will never be realized by me. But I know that a cost was paid by our family. As was many families. And by many families from many nations. Those who gave must know that the world is a better place because of it.
I hope that the US will never be required to sacrifice 450,000 people again. I hope my family never loses another member to a war. But I’m proud to say when they were, we gave.
Thank you Uncle Harold. I hope that one day I can learn and reclaim what we lost. I’m very proud of you.