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My latest chez Torygraph: upon three deaths - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
My latest chez Torygraph: upon three deaths
Wha's like yon? Damn' few, an' they're a' deid: Thomson, Millin, Bacon

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taradiane From: taradiane Date: August 19th, 2010 07:47 am (UTC) (Link)

Wherein I ramble in a somewhat nonsensical way...

My grandfather (mother's side) was in WWII - a higher ranking gentleman (I can't recall his exact title, and am both embarrassed and ashamed of that) that spent the time in Asian theatre, never making it to Europe. I have loads of pictures of him in Laos with various locals and other young American men barely out of their teens.

He didn't like to speak about it, or so I understood when I was younger. By the time I was old enough to realise that I could ask questions about those long gone days, I was too wrapped up in my own teenage angst to care. Oh how I wish that I had been more bold as a child and forced him into conversation.

He had a younger brother named Jack (you can read about him here if you have a desire to kill some time) who died in his second - voluntary - tour in Vietnam. I never heard him speak of his brother except on the day of his death when he spoke to him in the moments before he died. It was the shadow of that great uncle that I never knew that was the source of his reluctance to talk about the war, because that led to talk of his brother.

Last year, I went through two suitcases full of my grandpa's private papers, letters, medical records, etc from his years in the war. Words can't adequately express just how humbling of an experience it was. In one letter that he wrote to my grandmother (who was not yet his wife), he had talked about having spent the day in a small village in Laos (during the Japanese occupation) - he wrote that he hoped his future children and grandchildren would truly know the meaning of freedom...and there I sat, reading those words from so long ago that he probably never imagined I would see.

I think that I understand, grandpa. I think that I do.

Everything that I learned about patriotism, I learned from him. I didn't truly acknowledge it until after he died, sadly. He used to make snide, albeit good-natured, comments about my Anglophilic ways and my desperate desire to leave here and live on your fair isle...

I like to think he's smirking now in a very told-you-so sort of way every time I tear up during Fourth of July tributes (to the bewilderment of those around me) or when I read the words of the Founding Fathers (I heart John Adams something fierce).

"Let us think upon these things, and what is owed this generation now making its last march past..."

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