Yesterday, Jones Beach presented the Thunderbirds, an aerial demonstration of millions of dollars of flying war machines to dazzle the youngsters and old alike. I did not attend as the planes flew over my house for most of the morning anyway whereby I could contemplate the speed of sound, the Doppler effect and sonic booms... not to mention how much fuel these babies were burning. I was busy with my pre-cookout preparations and icing the beer. Boom!
I read in Newsday this morning that military recruiting booths were also set up at the beach yesterday. I'm now sorry I missed that as harassing recruiters is one of my favorite pastimes. I'd pay $8 for that. I can picture the used car salesmen of the military telling the children that flying planes in loop the loops is but the least of the magnificent opportunities available to those willing to sign up to fight in America's undeclared wars and kill the terr'rists from Iraq (heh) who changed our view to the west. "See that nothingness over yonder? You used to be able to see the WTC's from the beaches back in the day. Now you can kill those who removed our symbols of freedom."
Last evening as our friends got drunker in my backyard, we spent several moments remembering 'dubya dubya too' as was recounted by our parents. That was a time of sacrifice in our country. Everyone did their part, unlike today when we are told to go shopping.
My dad "fought" the great war from St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands watching out for submarines from under a lime tree wearing binoculars around his neck. Don't ask. He told me about his discovery of "Cuba Libres" (rum and coke with lime) which eventually became my favorite cocktail. I recalled how my dad brought the family to St Thomas years later to show us the 'battle grounds'. Daddy, let's see if we can find the lime tree that prevented you from getting scurvy.
My father in law stormed the beaches at Normandy but lost track of his platoon because his jeep was AWOL. He was in charge of arranging food and artillery for the troops. He, uh, was the only one to survive from his platoon.
My mother in law was an Army nurse in London. She saw more devastation and death than any of our fathers. I once asked her if she ever wanted to visit Europe again and she said, "No, everything is so old there. Too much rubble."
My dad married a woman he met on St Thomas (she later died in childbirth). My father in law met my mother in law at a USO dance in London. He was a hep cat and digging the band. She was a country girl from Massachusetts and thought he was a pompous New Yorker, but oh could he dance. My mom was doing her patriotic duty by dancing with the GI's who came to Manhattan during the war. She was engaged to a man who never returned.
That was a different war. No one wants to talk about the Vietnam war though. It's funny though, how in retrospect, Nixon doesn't seem like such a bad guy afterall. He didn't hide from the protesters like some people. A lot of men and women never returned from wars. After Vietnam, many of us believed that something like that would never happen again.
There's a good editorial at the Mn Star Tribune today. An excerpt:
In exchange for our uniformed young people's willingness to offer the gift of their lives, civilian Americans owe them something important: It is our duty to ensure that they never are called to make that sacrifice unless it is truly necessary for the security of the country. In the case of Iraq, the American public has failed them; we did not prevent the Bush administration from spending their blood in an unnecessary war based on contrived concerns about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. President Bush and those around him lied, and the rest of us let them. Harsh? Yes. True? Also yes. Perhaps it happened because Americans, understandably, don't expect untruths from those in power. But that works better as an explanation than as an excuse.