70 Years

When the doctor asked my granddad what he did in the war he told them he walked. Since he was an infantry man, I’m sure that’s pretty accurate. The war wasn’t a thing he talked about much. Sure, he had plenty of stories, but they were about the down time, not the fighting. He had lots of stories about guarding the POW camp in Paris.

Until it was time. Only once did I see the young man’s fear and sorrow in my granddad’s eyes and that’s when he told me that it was never easy to kill another man. After all those years, the memory was still fresh. The burden still heavy.

I don’t know, but I think he would have loved to see Jim “Pee-Wee” Martin parachute into Normandy for the second time. This time without fear since he was met with cheers instead of bullets.

These men carry their memories with humility and grace. Without them, the world would be a different place, indeed. They did what had to be done and far too many never came home and few remain of those that did.

4 thoughts on “70 Years”

  1. OldNFO – You mean they didn’t immediately have counselors available so the men could talk about their feelings?

    My grandpa died before I could know him and my other grandpa was in a critical civilian job so was removed from the draft. I guess he tried to join anyway and they said no. My dad though was in Korea and he won’t talk about the war. The guys he served with and the downtime, sure but not the war.

  2. Had a great-uncle who was in 2nd Infantry, I believe from somewhere in France until the end in Germany. Almost never talked about it- at all- until the last couple of years before he died, and then just things like ‘I picked up that dress dagger at a house in Germany. Somebody told me it was Göring’s house, but I don’t know; we were clearing out every building in the town.’

    Other great-uncle, Navy diver in the Pacific, on complete disability from the damage; same thing, just a few little stories toward the end.

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