My father has snippets of memories from his time fighting in Europe during WWII. The name of his jeep – Gloria. His dog tag number. His IPW Interrogation Team that was attached to the 100th Infantry and was in charge of interrogating fresh PWs on the front lines. The town of Bitche (Bitsch in German) close to the Rhine in France’s Lorraine region where they referred to their German counterparts, quite appropriately, as those “Sons of Bitsch”. The creaking of German boots on the planks of the barn under which he was forced to hide after the Germans had pushed back and recaptured a town he was in. There are other moments he recalls and others he does not. I am always fascinated by the stories that he does not share gladly. Most of us who have not witnessed war first hand or its aftermath are attracted to the stories much like “rubber neckers” cannot help themselves when there is a traffic accident.
I have always been fascinated by history and devour such books. Over the years I have looked into my family tree and have done so for one simple reason – one of my ancestors was a captain in a revolutionary militia from Massachusetts. I do not know what it is about war that fascinates me. I think it is the traumatic nature of conflict and how it alters history. The debate about the righteousness of war (or lack thereof) and the decision to enter into such conflicts. The very definition of war (skirmishes, rebellions, resistance etc.) is constantly discussed and redefined (by the victors?).
Today is Veteran’s Day and I will put all of these thoughts aside so that I can simply thank all of you who have served. I have already said this in my post at Dad Revolution, but I will not tire of saying so: It’s a thankless job and know that I do not take you for granted. Thank you and your families for your sacrifice.