Two Poems for Memorial Day

I have met a lot of WW2 vets in my life. Each and every one of you will tell you they are not heroes. They were survivors by the grace of God. The heroes aren’t here anymore. The most poignant part of the WW2 Memorial in Washington DC is the gold stars. The most gripping part of the National WW2 Museum is the oral histories. Take a moment and listen to them sometime.

Enjoy your Memorial Day.

  • awaldstein

    Every man in my parents generation was a WW2 vet.

    Not a one was nostalgic for it. Not a one that I know of shared many stories with their kids.

    It in no way defined them.

    They hated it but it was their duty and they did it without complaint.

    They never asked for a memorial to them.

    • Ralph Kern

      Because they were men….not just male of the species…MEN.

      • There are men today that are fighting on foreign soil. They are solid men. America creates men like this continuously. We always have and always will despite the differences many of us might have. There are no atheists in foxholes and there aren’t any political parties either.

    • I’d disagree slightly. A lot of the war did define many of the men that fought in that generation. They went to college on the GI bill and had access to lots of things that they never would have seen. Many I speak with say the war changed the entire direction of their life. Agree that they were selfless, not nostalgic but many appreciated it for different reasons, and they never talked about it and didn’t ask for a memorial but sure do appreciate that there is one and they will be remembered.

      Interestingly, the common misconception is that men signed up willingly and in droves for the service. The opposite is true. Men went into the service grudgingly. It was not supposed to be our war. America was/is a peaceful nation and in 1941 there was a spirit of being neutral.

      • awaldstein

        This is a good discussion.

        I am my fathers son and can only speak of this from a family point of view not from a historical perspective.

        My dad enlisted cause it was the right thing to do. My grandfathers sewed uniforms after hours on his sewing machine is the factory he worked at in the garment district.

        My dad spoke of the people as he had never been anywhere prior to this. As a scientist he brought back sea shells that he forged on his days off. As a morally good person and an educator he volunteered and taught at the Leper colony outside of Manilla.

        He never saw combat. M uncle was severely injured and was never quite the same.

        What formed them was the poverty they came out of, the love of the country, the dedication towards family and education.

        Maybe our family was different but I don’t think so as my entire life growing up was led by this generation of men in the extended family and jewish community.

        All in all. A great generation that I still admire.