Today was Veteran's Day in the US. Today, we remember. I remember reading about my great-grandfather's regiment from Minnesota as they came in at the end of the Civil War. I remember learning that both of my grandfathers served during World War I. Most of all, I remember my father's stories of World War II.
My father drove an ambulance for an Army hospital unit. The stories he told me were always peaceful stories. He spoke of boot camp in Colorado and his recovery from the pneumonia that nearly killed him. He reminisced about the doctors in the unit convincing him to drive them and their nurse friends to Loch Loman when they were stationed in Scotland. He told of the English girl with the red hair who begged him to take her to the States with him. He told me that she had a temper much like my mother's: the quieter she got, the more upset she was. This story actually helped me out a lot as I was growing up. My father had stories of France and how the French people hated the way the GIs mangled the French language.
What my father didn't tell me was about war. He saved those stories for my brother-in-law, a Vietnam veteran. It wasn't until after my father died that I learned of his other stories. You see, my father was one of the people who cleaned up after D-Day. He never told me about the soldiers who road in his ambulance. He never mentioned the ones who arrived at the hospital too late for the doctors to save. Those were stories that he didn't want his children to hear. He didn't want us to have to remember that. He didn't want anyone to ever have those memories.
Thank you, Dad, for all you did for me and for all those soldiers who never knew who brought them in. We remember.