Today, May 27, 2012, would have been my dad‘s 95th birthday. He lived more than 88 years, spending the majority as a successful freelance writer.
Lately, as well as looking into the future, I find myself renewing my interest in the past, on many levels. I have developed a particular curiosity for the lives of my parents, preceding my memory… even preceding their meeting, in 1948.
On this Memorial Day weekend, we remember soldiers serving our country, past and present; particularly those who were lost.
My dad volunteered to serve in the military, but was not accepted, for certain medical reasons. However, he found a way to serve the war effort through working in The Voice of America, the information and propaganda outlet of the United States government. Well before there was the internet, Voice of America radio broadcasts crossed borders offering contrasting versions of world events to citizens of European countries and beyond, fighting for their very existence.
Since my dad’s passing, I have unearthed all kinds of treasures, tucked away in boxes and files. The photo of him behind the Voice of America microphone is one such document. A plaque, presented to him by the government, for his war service was another. He had never spoken about it. I had never seen it.
It is, unfortunately, both necessary and important that we have a military. It will always be the case. The commercialization of Memorial Day weekend, promoting barbecue tools and mattress sales is a bit unsettling, to me.
I prefer to simply thank the brave men and women who serve our country, at the direction of the armed services. It’s an imperfect world, indeed. It will be a better day when fewer of our service men and women will be working only to ensure peace and not in combat. That’s not a political statement, but rather a hopeful desire.
I am grateful to know that my dad served his country, in support of its WWII effort, in concert with the military in their direct conflict.
First-Generation New Yorker