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Friday, November 29, 2013

Humility and Service

WW II Memorial
 One of my first contacts with a World War II Veteran happened when I had been in the United States only a couple of years.  This fine gentleman entered my life and family when my mother met my future step-father.  I have a quasi-policy of not mentioning names in the process of posting to this blog so I will continue to honor that policy.  Believe me when I tell you how proud I am of this individual, and the type of life he lead during the period of time that I knew him. 
I am sorry to say that I lost contact with many of our Texas family members a few years after we moved to the Pacific Northwest.  I still lament at the realization of how fast the years go by, and how easily you lose contact.  The person I am referring to became my uncle through marriage, he served in the Army with honor, and returned home to his wife with the memory of the horrors of war, and yet a humble and honorable man.  A great example to the many people that were in his life or crossed his path along the way. 
End of WW II Parade in New York
Those of us that belong to the proud Baby Boomer Generation (any person born between 1946, and 1964) but didn’t serve in the military were influence by these fine returning WWII Veterans.  This extremely brave men that had so proudly served their country had come home to set an example to the rest of us on how to be humble, and of service to others.  Unlike today’s society where 4 letter words are very common in regular verbal communications, our growing up years included such words as: yes sir, yes mam, please, and thank you.
The most beautiful thing that I admire about our military, and particularly the WWII Veterans is that while they are, and will always be heroes to common civilians like me, they don’t see themselves as heroes, and they simply feel grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve their country.
My uncle that I mentioned above was a hardworking man that proudly and more than adequately provided for his family.  As with most men of that period of time (the 1950’s), he was the sole provider for his family unit, and a loving father to his three children.  I have other uncles that served their country during time of war, but this person was the first time that I became aware of the leadership role that this men assumed when they returned from war.
Life in this country has changed so much that I am not sure that we will ever find our way back, at least not on automatic pilot as some things used to evolve.  A concerted effort will be required to get our society back on track.  I recently heard a program where it was reported that there are now approximately one million WWII Veterans left alive, they are dying at the rate of hundreds per day.
If you know any WW II Veterans, and you get an opportunity to have a conversation, ask them if they are interested in sharing any of their war experiences with you.  That priceless resource won’t be around forever.  Take advantage while you can.  The best is yet to come….

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