Tuesday, September 01, 2009
WORLD WAR II • 70TH ANNIVERSARY
It was 70 years ago today that Germany invaded Poland and the "Great War" began. Today I met Vincent Paratole. Vincent is a veteran of that conflict. He is 86 years young. He served in the "Battle of the Bulge" as a combat medic. He was present when Dachau, an infamous Nazi concentration camp, was liberated.
I looked into his eyes and could only imagine what they had seen during that time and since. He was a congenial man with a stud jeweled earring in his left ear. Proud that he served and quite modest about it. His was of "The Greatest Generation" according to the book by the same name written by newscaster Tom Brokaw. A generation that endured the Great Depression and all of the unrest since.
My grandfather was born on Christmas Eve 1861. It was the beginning of the American Civil War. My father served in the Navy during World War I. I served in Vietnam in the early 60's. I'm tired of war. I think we all are. I saluted Mr. Paratole and told him that I appreciated his service then I walked away. It was a confusing moment of pride, sadness, awe, and honor.