MAY 8, ONE PERSON’S STORY

May 8th,  Victory in Europe Day.   (It’s not ancient history to me – or to many of you!)

As it happens,  I have three postings for today (which I may or may not get to today), but I’ll start with the most fundamental one,   the little story about why I exist, because if it weren’t for May 8th, and the Victory we celebrate today,  it is quite  unlikely my Dad-to-be would have survived the war, and he would not have had this daughter.

Dad PFCDad used to tell me of his Marine Corps training.    It was early Spring, 1945.     Camp LeJeune.     Combat training was a matter of life and death.   At the time it was Western Civilization versus aggressive forms of socialism,  both fascist and marxist.  The young men were being trained to defend their nations,  their religions and  cultures, their freedoms, and their families.

Training itself was a matter of life and death.

combat training North Carolina

combat training North Carolina

Dad told me of the swamps, the quicksand,  the mud, the mosquitoes,  the barbed wire 8 inches above the ground that the young men had to stay under,  and the live rounds whizzing just over their heads.   Some of his friends didn’t make it, killed by the bullets.   Some just couldn’t make it;  took less honorable ways out.

But the Germans and the Japanese would be a lot harder on them than any Marine D.I..

Sure I was proud of my Dad, just for making it through basic training,  although the whole thing was incomprehensible to me, a little girl.

There was another challenge to their courage coming up.   Dad’s unit got the orders to join the war theater.   They lived out of their … their  duffel bag things waiting for the ship to take them away.   Slept in a big gym, all ready to go at a minute’s notice.

But two things happened.     Germany surrendered, and it was uncertain what and when and where Dad’s unit would be sent out to.     Couple months in that gym — in the North Carolina heat.   One insignificant Marine Unit, a bit overlooked, but commissioned now to become a part of that big all-out, once-and-for-all invasion of Japan.

The second thing that happened is that after a lot of behind the scenes politics, physics, and uncertainty,  by the end of that summer a decision was made to “drop the bomb” on Japan.

Suddenly VJ Day was added to VE Day.

My Dad,  18 1/2 years old,  and the young Marines with him, never got to go to Japan.

And I got to be here, living in a land that held freedom as a sacred trust.    I, for one, honor those in and around their 90s now, on this “minor holiday,”  and I thank them.

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One Comment on “MAY 8, ONE PERSON’S STORY”

  1. gpcox Says:

    A wonderful tribute for your father.


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