Sunday, May 29, 2011
World War II
September 1, 1939 was a day that changed history at least for my mother, her family and many of those in Europe. It was the day that World War II began for most of the world.
The United States didn’t enter the war officially until December 7, 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Yet for my mother Pat her world changed forever in September of 1939. She was just fifteen years old. Her first boyfriend Henry’s parents had been traveling in Europe and went missing in Hitler’s Poland.
Shortly after this Henry committee suicide and my mother lost not just her first love but her world. Her guilt was enormous, you see he had called her that night begging her to see him and she couldn’t go, she had to babysit.
Her father was in the Army, her cousin Don in the Navy and Pat volunteered to read to the American Soldiers, who had gone to England to enlist with the British Army. Each day she put a smile on her face, even when her heart was breaking and went to the Red Cross. Each day a little more of her soul was wounded but she fought on, because she knew that the wounded soldiers needed her.
Between 1939 when Henry committed suicide and 1945 when the war finally ended Pat lost every single boy she knew growing up except for her cousin Don. Don’s first ship was lost in Pearl Harbor, he was not on deck, later he again came close to losing his life due to a kamikaze pilot, and he was however on deck that day and thus survived.
Yet every other boy she knew had died in World War II. Many of us once a year honor those fallen heroes of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, Iraq, and the list goes on to infinity and we should honor them. They served our country bravely. They gave us the freedom we enjoy, lives were lost and boys & men maimed, blinded, and forever changed.
We should also remember those women who bravely sold war bonds, nursed the soldiers or like my mother spent her teenage years reading to the boys in the hospital. Those who might otherwise have been forgotten, my mother did not forget. She carried the memory of each and every one of them with her throughout her life.
It forever changed her world and all she knew into a strange new world, one that she was ill equipped to deal with in many ways.
So today I remember my stepson Kenny Bishop who served five tours in Iraq, my Grandfather Alfred Moran who serve in the Army in both World War I and World War II and was in charge of the reconstruction of Berlin after the war. My mother’s cousin Don who served us faithfully in World War II in the South Seas and each of the men and women that served our country. I will also remember those like my mother Pat who kept the home fires burning, nursed the soldiers and read to them, for they suffered too.