The photo here is my Uncle Dick. It’s inscribed, “To my sweetheart. Love, Dick.” That would have been Maxine, his drop dead gorgeous wife. Today, I always think of him …oh, and also my jarhead brother who got me into this political racket in the first place. Hu-rrrrrah.
I was way too young to know him well, but I remember Uncle Dick as incredibly handsome, larger than life personality, with one of the most beautiful women as his wife I ever saw. The two of them were dynamite together, good and bad, hot and dangerous, all rolled into one. At least that’s what I remember.
Then something happened. He sort of fell apart. That’s when the “battle fatigue” set in. But that was long after he played his part in WWII, flying mission after mission, which eventually caught up with him. He was one of the many ordinary heroes of that war. I say “ordinary” because there were so many stories of bravery, cunning and denying death that heroism weaved through that war over and over again in the stories.
Today, we have new heroes of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as many SOF that go unsung.
Uncle Dick is gone, but I will never forget what he did for this country, flying consecutive sortie as so many pilots did during WWII. My father, Dick’s brother, is long gone, too. I didn’t learn the real story behind why daddy didn’t fight in the war until May 2007, believe it or not. My big brother read a post on my blog one day and wrote me this email.
Read your blog and didn’t know if you knew why Dad didn’t serve in the military. He was working at Boeing Aircraft in Wichita, Kansas, an essential industry, during the war and they wouldn’t accept him in the service because he was needed at Boeing. At least, that’s what I was always told and have no reason not to believe.
There are so many ways to serve. But around home mom always gave me the impression that for daddy his service just wasn’t the same as what uncle Dick had done. Maybe to a man those days, but everyone was needed to pitch in and help and all efforts towards the war were critical. I hope daddy knew that.
So many, many have died serving this country honorably, others sacrificing their bodies, limbs, and normal lives for this country, along with their families who serve through their support of the family soldiers. Today we salute you all.
This post, a kind of tradition for me at certain times of the year, is for my Uncle Dick, who is a bonafide hero to me.
However, for many others, heroes only come in the movies. Otto Preminger made one of the best war movies ever, “In Harm’s Way.” No doubt you have your own favorite war movie, too.