Sunday, February 18, 2007

War Is Hell -- Even To Remember

My paternal grandfather was just completing training when WWII ended and he was sent home. He however did lose a cousin a Germany.

While nobody on my mother's side was killed, that I know of, I had three uncles who were in some way or another devastated by WWII. (My Mom is youngest in her family, Dad was second oldest in his, so I had uncles and aunts on Mom's side who were as old as my Grandparents on Dad's.)

Uncle H., her older brother was the sole survivor of his unit. Survivor guilt reduced him to a man that could barely function in society. He was a loveable man who was loved by everyone who knew him, but he was no longer able to care for himself.

Uncle L. , her oldest sister's husband, was in Germany and his unit was pinned down by several snipers. Uncle L. managed to kill one and after they were able to move forward, he discovered that the sniper he had killed was a 12 year old boy. He had no choice but he tried for years to drink away the memory of what he had been forced to do.

Uncle J. (another sister's husband) was a paratrooper and on his way down received fire and lost his entire right arm. In spite of this he was able to live a full and fairly successful life with my aunt. He is the only one of the three who is still alive.

War is hell, even for the victors. We often have no choice but to fight, but it is not glorious or glamorous. It is a horrible thing that we are sometimes forced to do as the consequences of avoiding war are often worse than the consequences of fighting it. I appreciate very much what my 3 uncles on Mom's side went through, as well as what my Paternal Grandfather's cousin died for, and my Grandfather was preparing for. We didn't ask for that war, but we got it anyway.


Blogger Gayle said...

Your Uncles H, L and J are all heroes. Unfortunately only Uncle Jay is still here. I hope he knows he's a hero, but usually real hero's never feel like heroes; their humbleness is one of the things that makes them special. I'm sure it would bother me to have shot a kid too, but the kid was shooting at your Uncle L and others, so he didn't have any choice but to return fire. Sad, and it happens a lot in war. With Islamofascists I imagine it happens even more, since they seem to delight in sending their children off to kill people.

You are right, Shoprat; there's nothing glamorous about war. The mental injuries can often be worse than the physical ones.

10:39 PM  
Blogger ABFreedom said...

Thanks for your families sacrifice in keeping us free. God bless them all. I have relatives that participated in wars as well, and can trace them all the way back to the American civil war.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Steven said...

John Platshorre and his brother Daniel were aboard the USS Shaw on December 7 1941. My Grandfather John survived in a sense that day; however Daniel perished. As the story was told to me, he was forced to step over his brother’s dead body to save his self at the end. A traumatic experience he carried with him the rest of his life. My Grandfather has been gone now for a dozen years; posts like this revive my memory of what the cost of freedom really is.

7:07 PM  

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