LETTERs TO THE EDITOR
To the Editor:
I am sure that each of us veterans have heard this greeting numerous times. I have decided to pause and recollect what it means to me when I hear it and respond. Naturally, it makes me think of my time in the service of our dear country.
Oh, I did get to travel a good bit while in service. The one time it was from beautiful Paris, leaving on a troop ship from Marseilles, France, going through the Panama Canal, past the Hawaiian Islands and landing in Manila, Philippines. It took us several weeks to complete this journey. It was one which was worse than a ‘slow boat to China.’
After licking the Germans we were on our way to invade Japan. I had a varied Army career having served in the Signal Corps, going to college to become a civil engineer for the Army and then serving in the infantry on a 30-caliber machine gun squad in France. Finally after being hospitalized for 90 days, I served in an Army finance unit also in France and Manila. I do admit that some of my memories of the time I spent in the Army are most pleasant like meeting a future wife, Margaret, who I would marry some 40 years later.
This being Memorial Day time, I will try to mention some pertinent experiences which occurred while I was in the service.
I still much remember and mourn especially for the comrades who served with me and gave their lives that you and I may enjoy our precious freedom. I think of the period of our training here in the states preparing us for combat service. We all had dreams and plans of what we would do after the war. Unfortunately, many never got a chance to enjoy their aspirations.
I believe the worst event of my combat experience was when we were being attacked. I had asked my foxhole buddy to man a weapon on which I felt he had more experience than I did. Unfortunately, he was immediately killed.
I have lived with this tragedy for over 75 years. I am forever wondering if I will be able to thank him for giving his life that I may enjoy mine. Reminds me of the verse in John 15:13: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” I feel that this comrade truly gave his life that I may live. This incident has laid heavily on my mind and heart for 75 years and will probably remain until I get a chance to thank him in heaven.
There were more similar incidents and I am sure many of my fellow veterans on this Memorial Day observance can attest to the fact they too have been suffering from memories of years gone by. As a veteran I will say we appreciate and deserve this salutation because we truly earned it and many of us still suffer in various and some unnoticeable ways.
“Thank you for your service.”
324th Infantry Regiment Association
44th Division, World War II