Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Thoughts on 7 December

I remember December 7th, 1941. It was a cool sunny Sunday in Culver, Indiana. My mother was asleep on the couch and my grandparents had gone out. I was upstairs when the news flashed. I didn't know what it meant but the memory is indelible some 64 years later. Some time back I verified the event with my mother and her response was, "but you were only fourteen months old".

I remember fragments of the war years and listening to Roosevelt funeral.

Ralph, who was to become my stepfather came back with stories of the war. He was at Hickham Field and then went through seven invasions including Guadalcanal, the Philippines and Tarawa. That child of the rural Indiana farmland was a case study in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I flew a 4 drawer desk during my time at SAC headquarters in Omaha. Back in '62 I volunteered to go to Viet Nam as I would have gone to East Cupcake to leave Omaha. I'm so glad God had my back and they didn't send me, as the troops sent and those being now sent, will once home almost certainly repeatedly revisit Col. Kurtz "horror". As Wellington said, "The only thing worse then a battle lost is a battle won".

I think to the phrase "if conquer we must when the cause it is just" and wonder what's happening on any level of those words. I wonder if there is a finite number of insurgents in and around Iraq. I wonder if we've gotten ourselves into a situation we are willing but unable to support. I'm a veteran who never went to war although my Air Force unit had 19 planes shot down by various communist countries in the period from 1945 until 1963. The closest I got to combat was listening to our crews announce that they had aborted their mission due to the scrambled and now firing Russian and Chinese MIG's and Capt. Jerry Clapp who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with four oak leaf clusters all achieved during peacetime. I must mention our section commander, Col. Kermet Behan, the bombardier at Nagasaki.

I pray daily for those in harms way and wish them Godspeed. For all this countries faults it is the best the world has ever known and our past and present courageous men and women at arms are what make it and keep it so.


Blogger Bonita said...

Good post! I, too, honor any veteran who has fought for our country; and I especially pray for the soldiers who, over in Iraq, are fighting an unpopular war. They are giving their lives for us, they deserve our support while they are there.

But, war changes a lot of things, and also creates new issues, one of which is 'how can we build a society that integrates diversity (religious and ethnic). We've got to move into a succinct dialogue here, or we'll be facing more of the same.

12:57 PM  
Blogger The MacBean Gene said...

Tahnks for the compliment.
You are so right about supporting our military and their families especially at this time of year.

I formed the same idea about the oneness of all the worlds culture and religion long before I knew of the Baha'i faith. It's just as Joseph Campbell said, "People get stuck in the metaphor" and there are so many metaphors.

6:50 PM  
Blogger GUYK said...

Good post

3:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father was drafted into the Army Reserves right out of law school. He grew up near where you live now in Floyd, VA. Because he was a Southern country boy and did lots of hunting, he was a very good shot and was made a sniper complete with M-14 rifle.

Your living in my old stomping grounds. My father and I used to ride bicycles from NC up Squirrel Spur to Floyd one day and back the next. Going down the mountain was so much more fun, but either way we had lunch at Mayberry Mill. My favorite, which I hear is still being served, was the buckwheat cakes stuffed with barbecue - mouth is watering now. Anyway, like the blog.

5:16 PM  
Blogger The MacBean Gene said...

To Anon.
I cannot imagine riding a bicycle up Squirrel Spur. Down O.K., up, no way!
I guess you just wanted to get to Floyd in the worst way.

7:18 PM  

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