Please don’t forget us

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 24, 2002

There is a photo of my mother that hangs in my parent’s dining room, an enlargement of a studio shot from the early 1940s.

Mama’s abundant dark hair is swept up in the pompadour style of the period.

There is a definite coquettish gleam in her smile.

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&uot;Your daddy carried the little original picture in his wallet with him all the way overseas

and back on that Liberty ship in World War II…he always liked that one,&uot; she mused the other day.

The enlargement has recently been sitting in my dad’s hospital room the past week, a visible connection to his past.

The only thing is, he can’t tell us who is in the photo.

&uot;I tell you, I don’t know WHO that woman is, I honestly don’t,’ he insists.

Oh, he knows who my mother is.

He just can’t make the connection between the young woman in the photo and the pretty white-haired lady who now fusses lovingly over him.

World War II brought my parents, the shy, raw, mischievous military policeman and the fun-loving, petted, pretty nurse, together, just as it brought the parents and grandparents of some of you together.

A back injury took Daddy out of the Army infantry, and the Fates decreed he would serve his country in Crossville, Tennessee at a German POW camp.

He always loved telling the tale of the time he and his buddy the sergeant had to go out and hunt down World War I hero Alvin York’s son, who was most definitely away without leave.

The feckless young man had to be literally dragged out from his ‘hidey-hole’ underneath the family’s abode.

(Apparently the father’s mantle of heroism weighed

too heavily on the son’s shoulders.)

I wonder now if my dad would remember that story and all the others he used to love to tell.

I wished I had paid a little more attention, asked more questions, taken notes.

Still, I am so grateful I have him here.

So many of our husbands, fathers and grandfathers—our WW II vets—are gone now.

Others that remain are waging a battle against a very different enemy than the one they faced 60 years ago—the relentless thief of time.

It’s important to remember how they lived, what they gave, how some gave all, so we could go on living in the greatest nation on earth.

I sometimes imagine the faces of our war dead rising up, the young men, black, white, from well-to-do families and from poor ones, and I hear their voices cry out, &uot;Please do not forget us.&uot;

Support the Butler County WW II Memorial Fund.

Honor our veterans while some of them are still here and able to appreciate it.