Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Thoughts

Making small talk at a wedding reception recently a friend and I realized we have in common an odd bit of history. We are about the same age and we both know we are probably here because President Truman decided to avert the invasion of Japan by dropping the atomic bomb. How can this be?

My father was a signalman in the Navy. At the end of the European theater of war, he was sent with other selected signalmen to train for the invasion. They were to be dropped offshore, were to get on land the best they could, dig in, and help direct the invasion from their vantage point. The Navy expected a survival rate of 1 out of 10.

My friend’s father was an Army sergeant. After time in Europe, he was assigned to a special force being made up for first wave of the invasion. I don’t know what survival rate was expected for this, but pretty sure it was slim.

Anyway, they were in training at bases in California when the news came of the atomic bombing of first Hiroshima and then three days later, Nagasaki. Six days after the second bombing, Japan surrendered.

This post isn’t made to offer rational for the use of nuclear weapons. I cannot imagine the horror they created and pray the world will never see them used again. But here on Memorial Day as I think of so many who have died in service to our country, I do give thanks that two young soldiers got the chance to live, and to become dads. And it reminds me that we who live peaceable lives owe a debt of gratitude.

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