Since It’s Memorial Day

I’ve been working on finding the military records on my uncles who served in WWII. Image

I know one of them was a tanker with the 32nd Artillery in the South Pacific.  This division saw 654 days of combat between September 1942, and inactivated in June 1946.  I know this was seriously hazardous work in the Pacific, and hot.  I can’t imagine the heat inside a tank in the Pacific in the summer.  If that’s what a “tanker” did.  Maybe it meant he was on an oil tanker, but the obit doesn’t make that clear.  I don’t know much about my uncles’ WWII experiences, as the family is not what you call “tight knit.”  And very little information is available easily on the web (can you believe it?)

My other uncle served somewhere in Asia.  I think my dad said Bummy “caught” multiple sclerosis while he was in China.  I have no idea what he did.

My dad was too young for WWII and too old for Korea, not to mention he was 4F due to flat feet.  He always felt inferior to his brothers, that he could only join the National Guard and was never called to action.  He never felt that he was lucky to have missed out.  He always pushed his boys (my brothers) to join the military, though neither one did.  Instead, me and two of my sisters joined the Navy and Army, and another sister married a Marine.  My sister in the Army’s husband did time in the first Iraq War, but I don’t think he saw much.  The one in the Army is retired now.  She has lots of medals for performance, shooting, etc., but she didn’t have any war experience.  Neither did I or my other sister in the Navy.  We did our time and left.  Though she enjoyed her time, whereas I did not and couldn’t wait to be truly free again.  No one telling me what to do, where to do it, how much to do it, and what to wear while I do it.  I guess I didn’t take very easily to the following of orders.

ImageSo, that makes me a vet among a family of vets.  But does a peace time vet deserve or receive a salute?  Well, the military sees a difference, those of us who were in during peace time do not receive the same level of benefits, as say a marine coming home from a third tour in Iraq.  Which brings me to my issue, I feel embarrassed that I did peace keeping duties.  That I didn’t do more.  That my military stint was a cakewalk.  Still, I can claim duty during the end of the Cold War (not that today’s soldiers even know what that was).  Does that count? Should it? 

Any way, with all the hoopla about soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen during Memorial Day weekend, I don’t feel myself included in the thanks that is being bantered around, and it just adds to my feeling of not having done anything even remotely important.  I suppose that’s my ego talking.  If it is I wish it would shut up.



9 thoughts on “Since It’s Memorial Day

  1. It’s certainly not your fault that you weren’t in ‘active wartime’ duty… If there had been one…you’d have been trained and been there…Comparison… a fireman still is ready to lay his life on the line…but if there’s no fire does that make his intentions any less important? I think not…So I believe all service men/women deserve respect and honor for their duty or intent to do combat duty.

    I’m going to be a ‘couch psychologist’ for a minute…(oh no say you…what now?) You made a comment which stood out to me… You were glad to get out of service as no one could tell you what to do, where to do it etc. … and yet you find yourself in a situation now where in effect the situation is very similar… you feel the need to do what people want, when they want it and you DO it…. I know it’s not exactly the same but I (as the couch therapist) may say to you …. Do you think that’s what you deserve?…. It’s your ‘duty’…. end of session…no payment is deserved lol Diane

    1. Thank you Diane. I appreciate your comments. You make me feel much better about my service time. I guess I could have been involved in a war, I never really considered that. It was the Cold War, and I suppose I was doing something inherently good and important. But even during the worst of the Cold War time, I never really believed in it. Never believed that anyone would push “the button.” I never felt afraid as many did in the 50s-60s.

      Thank you for your keen observation. You are right, nothing has really changed from the time I was 18 until now. I still follow someone’s order or direction. I’ve started to talk to husband about how I feel, but that doesn’t change anything. The bottom line, my family does not wish to accommodate me. I am seriously considering leaving them. But then I’ll just be alone, with no one to even listen to. I don’t know that it would be a change for the better.

  2. i have to laugh here as i read your words and hear my husband’s words. we served during different times, he in peace time and me during war time. i was in more years than he also. all i want to say is when you served was not up to you, it was determined by the universe. your lessons needed for life were different than mine. when you joined did you say to anyone – i am joining as long as no war starts and i am not in danger? no you didn’t. for me that time is gone and it is more about what are you doing now. it reminds me of the high school football player that has gotten fat and sits around bragging about the “old days” rather than focusing on life in this moment.

    you have to stop thinking you are not as good as others. it is our thinking that leads to our unhappiness. if we start using different language, in your case a kinder language. btw that is not from a “couch therapist’ rather a professional:) as if that matters…lol

    1. Thank you and your husband for your service. I hope you are proud.

      It is incredibly difficult to put myself forward, or demand more. I’m trying to change, but it’s a slow process. Changing the internal language is so important, I know. Wish I really felt that worthy.

  3. I thank you for serving. My husband served in the army. He went in to Solmolia to do clean up. He doesn’t talk about it because of what he saw. I lost a dear friend when he was killed by an roadside bomb 7 years ago.. To me you are all veterans and deserve thanks. I couldn’t be blogging about my mundane problems without people like you. 🙂

    1. You’re very kind. Thank you, and Thank you and your husband for his work in Somalia. I hope that despite what he saw, he felt he did something good and worthwhile.

      So sorry about the loss of your friend. You obviously cared very much for them.

      The Navy didn’t tell us if we ever intercepted anything important. Who knows, maybe one of the Chinese messages I transcribed was important?

  4. There are many forms of service. Military is one important form, but don’t feel that you’ve done nothing just because you never actively served in the military.

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