The Germans could never see us crouched low, eyes just above the grass. They were looking hard too, scanning the French countryside for the inferior Americans they would kill if they had a chance. Oh, we were scared, petrified. If Germans didn’t kill us my mother would have if we destroyed her award winning azaleas.
That was the extent of my combat experience, child’s play, picking who would be a sergeant, corporal, or general. Born in 1960 I had the luxury of not being forced to fight. I did reach eighteen in 1978, the first year the government reinstated signing up for the draft. I remember going to the post office with high school buddies to sign the card. I certainly wasn’t worried about paying the ultimate price for my country. I was going to be an opera singer.
Today, I do understand the ultimate price, dying, never to see your wife, your children grow up, your brother who protected you, the sister who gave you the girls point of view, the grandparents who spoiled you, the uncle who took you fishing, the aunt who when getting off the bus you ran to anticipating the present. The father who instilled “never say can’t”, “never quit”, “suck it up”, “shake it off”, or the mother who’s azaleas did get me in a heap of trouble.
This weekend, let’s thank all of those who have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and The National Guard.