On Veteran’s Day, I’m remembering the two pictured below, their service in WWII, and their ardent hope that they were truly fighting “The War to End all Wars.” They are my grandparents.
It was a time not without its parallels to the present: the world had just escaped The Depression of the 1930’s, in large part because factories were producing for the purpose of the war machine. Labor was battling for much of the ground it now holds, my grandfather being one of the Union organizers, undoubtedly carrying his training in strategy and tactics with him into those battles.
But the specter of hatred reared it’s head in the United States with that era’s bout of xenophobia and exclusionary tactics. Japanese internment camps and turning away three steamships full of Jewish refugees that waited two weeks in New York harbor for President Eisenhower to eventually refuse them entry.
My grandmother’s two brothers were also WWII veterans, and my uncle is also a retired career military man. So this is something of a family affair. On days like today, it’s comforting to think I’m working steadily towards an image of the world they might be proud to see. Openness, fairness, truth, legacy.
Considering myself fairly lucky to count a whole troop of veterans from several branches in my company. Salute to everyone.