Monday, May 28, 2007

God Bless America

I have a confession to make. It's nothing I can do anything about, nor does it have anything to do with the patriotism of my family..

I don't know about the Civil War. Family records don't go back that far. I do know my paternal great-great-grandparents emigrated to the U.S. from Germany to escape the draft there. They settled in the Dakotas, which makes the Civil War moot on their side.

So far as I know, no member of my family has ever gone to war or served in the armed services for the United States. Since I know so little of my extended family, there might well be great-uncles or cousins who served. But none of my immediate family did.

Spanish American War? My great grand and grandfathers were busy establishing homesteads in the West. First World War? My father was a boy. Second World War? after Pearl Harbor, my dad went down to sign up with every other able-bodied man in the countrey. But he was 40, and they had plenty of younger volunteers. They told my dad to go back and sell war bonds, which he did very sucessfully..

They did call back when he was 44. By then, he had a two-year-old with lympho sarcoma (cancer) and a new baby (me). They opted to let him mind the home fires, which he did. I think nowadays,regardless, they would have sent him.

My brother died, of course. And I was a female. So no foul, no danger of war. In the late 1960's, I married a man who planned a military career. Bur the Air Force looked at X-rays of a former car accident he had been in and said "uh--uh" So he went into law enforcement instead.

So my family has been in this country maybe 100 years or more and none of us have gone to war.
We have voted, we have participated in community. But not one of us has died for our country.Or fought for it.

On Memorial Day, I remember my parents filling up a bucket with flowers and garden tools and heading for the cemetery. I had a vague understanding it was for the war heroes, but my parents also thought it was a day to remember any loved ones. The cemetery would be full of friends, and some of us kids would climb the mulberry trees and eat the fruit, which wasn't. bad.

I am an American. Whole-hearted. I cannot be the only one with no service in my family history, but it feels almost shameful. But that is my history. This is America. Make of it what you can.


Ambulance Driver said...

"I am an American. Whole-hearted. I cannot be the only one with no service in my family history, but it feels almost shameful. But that is my history. This is America. Make of it what you can."

I don't think it's necessary to have a personal connection to the military. All that is needed is an understanding of brotherhood and the nobility of sacrifice.

qlajlu said...

It is refreshing to read someone who feels as though they have cheated simply because they have not served this country in a military capacity, nor do they know of anyone in their family that has. All of this just when I was beginning to think that patriotism was dead.

Although the Vets of the Sand Box are not returning to the type of reception that us Nam Vets received, knowing that there are so many anti-war, anti-military people in America can take a soldier's pride away.

Thank you, both.

Travis Erwin said...

I agree with ambulance driver. You have no reason to be ashamed. It's not like you have a history of family who takes retreats to Canada at the first sign of conflict.

Matt G said...

I should have gone when I graduated high school. At the time, I kinda thought that I would get some college first, and might enter as an officer. But things slid. Now I've got men like the good and noble John Shirley and his mates doing my family's fighting for us.

Thank God for them. They are my heros. (Especially John, who is my age and dropped everything after 9/11/01 to join.)