I am always haunted by an image of a young man who I assume came from the prairies and working the soil, to stand guard on a palm lined shore in a place that he probably couldn’t find on a map. I never see his face. He stands in silhouette against a setting sun. The image comes to my mind because my father and several gentlemen that I have known well had served in the Pacific during WWII. The fields of France and Germany would have been familiar to them so the South Pacific brings to my mind the strangeness of their situation. It is not war that is strange. Human beings have been killing each other since antediluvian days usually because of greed and the jealous desire to have what someone else has. The pure cussedness of human beings makes war inevitable. The strangeness of their situation is that plucked away from family and friends, and transported halfway around the world to fight and perhaps die, most of them did it willingly. Today all who serve do it willingly.
I would be remiss not to mention the women who served. In my family I have several women relatives who attained high rank in the military during WWII. I remember trying to get some history from these ladies at a family reunion and their response was that they didn’t do anything particularly noteworthy. Well they did and so today we remember those who died and we thank those who served. Being thankful for their service doesn’t seem to be noteworthy either but in todays world it is. In the milieu of hashtags and selfies sacrifice and self forgetfulness seem as far gone as the antediluvian murderers. Veterans dead and alive remind us of sacrifice and service to something other than self and that is indeed noteworthy.