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Remember The Fallen, But Pray For Peace Through Peace

All of us have been affected by a loved one or a friend who served in the military. They come back different, or not at all.

I recall that first time I came home after boot camp followed by Basic Electricity/ Electronics School at Great Lakes Naval Training Center. The Command closed the school for the holidays, so I went on leave to MY HOME, Plattsburgh, New York. Little had changed: family, friends, or foe.
I had changed. I saw things differently from when I had left.

My dad was a young hillbilly from the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia who went in the army at seventeen, looking to see the world or fleeing some personal demons. I am not sure which. His painful childhood memories surfaced when he imbibed whiskey straight from the bottle. He laughed. He cried. Anger would take over until the stupor suppressed the emotions.

After army boot camp and training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Dad took a plane ride to Korea. Eighteen by then, he waited for the word that his unit was going North. That order never came. A peace agreement was signed to end the war. Dad returned to the States and finished out his enlistment then went back to rural Virginia.

Wanderlust once again taking the young man’s spirit, he enlisted in the US Air Force. After his training, the Airforce stationed him at Plattsburgh Air Force base. Shortly after arriving, he met a little eighteen-year-old farm girl, who had moved twenty miles to the booming metropolis of Plattsburgh, New York. They married, and three years later they endeared the world with a lovable baby boy who now shares these memories. Some memories draw a smile, others tears.

Honestly, life’s memories are a gamut of emotions.

The young hillbilly took root in upstate NY. With many struggles, he and mom raised three boys.

He has since succumbed to cancer and passed away. As he grew older and wiser, he loathed the idea of war. He would say, “Old men fight their war’s
through the blood of the young.”

This day, I remember those men and women who gave their lives.

I am older, hopefully a little wiser from life’s experience. A new attitude has emerged.

As a child, I watched all the heroics and glamour of the Hollywood war movies. There is no glamour in war. Human beings die regardless of whose side they are on.

I remember the phrase in the eighties, “Peace through strength.” I have adjusted that:

“Remember the fallen, but pray for peace through peace.”

Writer, philosopher, humorist, observer of life, an all-around lovable guy.

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