try to catch the deluge in a paper cup (primroseburrows) wrote,
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows

My father was born on July 15, 1928, so he was twelve years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked and the US officially entered the Second World War. According to family stories, he was about thirteen when he first tried to join the Navy. When he was fifteen, he managed to get accepted by using an older friend's identification.

He got stationed on a ship and had been there for some time when he heard his REAL name called. Needless to say he was plenty scared about that, and I'm sure fears of court-martial or worse went through his head. His commanding officer called him aside, and told him he didn't know whether to throw him out or pin a medal on him. I'm not sure what happened immediately after that, but he definitely wasn't court-martialled or thrown out. He ended up staying in the Navy, stationed on ships in both WWII and Korea. He only left because his being in harm's way so much was extremely stressful for my mother.

Later in life he went back and worked for the Navy doing quality control. When he died in 1989, he was buried at Quantico National Cemetery, with full military honours, including a 21-gun salute. I didn't understand the meaning behind an honour like that, and back then it disturbed me, because I took it to mean a glorification of war. I've since learned otherwise, that a military burial, with its bugles and guns and salutes, is a great big giant thank you to the soldiers and sailors. It doesn't glorify war, it laments it. At least that's how I feel now that I'm older.

I may not agree with a given war and its politics, but I support the people who have fought them in good faith, everywhere. I thank them, and especially, I thank my dad.





In related news, as a general rule I don't post "In Flanders Fields" every year for a couple of reasons. First, it was written before my country entered the war, about a battle we didn't attend. Although Americans are surely included in the spirit of the poem, the fact is that it really wasn't written for us. Second, enough people post it every year that for me to do it yet again would make it feel more trite and take away from the very real feelings the poem engenders.

Having said all that, I couldn't NOT share this recording, because a. It meets my battle descendant criteria, b. it's a recording, not just another copy/paste, and c. lightning might strike me dead otherwise.

In Flanders Fields

_scally found the .flv file, and all I did was press a button to convert it to .mp3. I am not worthy of her mad finding skillz.
Tags: family, remembrance day
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