Wednesday, April 16, 2008
In the mail yesterday...
Comes the stuff of my other life, or so it seems. My sister sends my Grandfather's tattered Bible, my baby book kept for many years by my mother, My father's High school yearbook (class of 42) when he was a junior, and a Victory Album 1941-1945 Freeborn County, Minnesota. From his wallet I get a picture of self and siblings around 1955, his Selective Service classification from 1951 (we were fighting in Korea then), his original Social Security Card (mine is long lost), and a copy of his Honorable Discharge from the Army and his Enlisted Record and Report of Separation. The last has his medal and ribbons, places he was and dates starting and ending. He only shot Sharpshooter with the rifle, but he was a Heavy Equipment Operator with the Engineers.
Different world we live in now, while he was in high school he knew he was going to war when he graduated, I knew I was going to Vietnam if I didn't go to college (went to college for one semester) then I went to the Army. While he was out earning a living, flying airplanes and trying to feed a growing family - the Korean conflict came up and he was eligible for drafting again - anyone feel that pressure in the current world situation? Nah, we spend lots of dollars on bonuses and perks for the less fortunate to grab and gain the glory of government service. But then that is what those Presidential candidates are going for - the glory of government service, and that isn't what the military does for the Nation.
It is a much more comfortable world now, I can pull my credit card out and have things fixed for me - no longer required nor tempted to try to do it myself. I am so well off (LAZY?). I finally woke up and fixed my own flat tire on my motorcycle - because no one would do it for my credit card and their liability.
Looking at the Victory Album I see that all the men were in uniform from Freeborn County Minnesota, or a bit old, working farms or not fit for duty - and if you weren't in uniform you knew more people that were than weren't. Which is why the last war the United States declared, fought and won was World War II. The Nation went and was at war, from Ivy League to Little League the Nation was at war. Now we hype the words, and the mission, but it rings hollow to my ears -- the Nation worries about entitlements and comfort - FREE, SEXY, EASY.