Sunday, June 8, 2014

D-Day and my Father

My father will be 90 this year. 70 years ago, he flew B-29 bombers for the USAF. In the Pacific arena. Not in the D-Day operation.

I grew up with pictures scattered throughout my home of my father in uniform. Of my mother and he marrying in Okinawa after the war was over.

It is only today that I have grasped how old he was then. Or rather, how young.

Have a good look at those around you who are in their twenties. How confident. How frail. How strong. How uncertain. How full of hope they are for fullness in a life that stretches endlessly before them.

I describe myself as a sort of pacifist. But I am haunted by the fear that my self-description may merely be an excuse for cowardice.

What I do know is that the world is full of leaders who are not pacifist. And that I am afforded the luxury of wallowing in my inner turmoil only because others are prepared to take my place on the front line.

And I know that those others are our children. For it is always the young we send to fight the wars of the old.

Today marks the last major anniversary of D-Day when survivors will be able to gather in numbers to remember those of their friends who were not so lucky.

I remember with them. And I thank them. The living. And the dead. And most especially those who have suffered reduced lives these past 70 years due to injuries they received on our behalf.

It is the sacrifice they made as much as the protests we engage in which help to ensure that we minimize the possibility of further violence in the future.

My father and I have chosen to go our separate ways. Too many differences. We will not re-bond before he dies. But the parting was civilized.

I do not know where he will be today. But my thoughts are with him. Memories of better times. Memories of those pictures. Memories of a delicate young man in uniform.

Whatever he is doing, I think of him today with thanks. And with pride.