from: Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon
by: Steve Sheinkin
My dad was part of the Greatest Generation. He lived through the celebration of the end of WWI, even though he was a little baby. He lived through the Great Depression. He served in the Army Air Corps during WWII.
Daddy never talked about the war. He only told us kids that he was a radio operator in the planes that flew somewhere over Europe. He taught us Morse Code. He brought home a couple of pipes for his father. I remember the smell of pipe tobacco hovering over Grampy like a sweet cloud.
I don’t remember too much about my dad when he was young-ish and I was small-ish. We did family things: car trips, picnics, dinner-table talk about work and school. He did dad things: mowed the lawn and kept the weeds under control, took his turn driving to Sunday School, steadied my bike seat as I learned to find my balance. That was his really hardest job. Balance is a tricky thing.
Now, we live near an air base. The airmen and women practice fly overs sometimes. As I’m writing this, three heavy-bodied planes fly low, in formation, part of our town’s Memorial Day observance. The speeches will begin right after, at 10:00, followed by a march with the High School Band to the local cemetery. A trumpet player is honored by playing taps, a twenty-one gun salute is fired, a wreath is laid and everyone disbands to their picnics, ball games, and department store sales.
Today, Memorial Day, I’m remembering my dad and all his brave friends. Some I’m sure did not come home although Daddy never talked about that.
How much courage is necessary to save a country? How high does an ideal fly that motivates a young person to dream the dream of freedom for all? How lucky are we all in this country where education is important, children are valued and our lives are our own?
May our flag ever wave.