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The Enchanted Collection of Amy Zerner and Monte Farber
The Enchanted Collection of Amy Zerner and Monte Farber
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Saturday May 23, 2015

Memorial Day 2015


I don't really feel worthy to write anything about any person who has served in the military, let alone been killed or wounded on the job, because I didn't, unless you count a few years as a Brooklyn, New York teenager in the Civil Air Patrol, the civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force, even joining the drill team and being under the "care" of an active duty Marine drill instructor whose name I cannot recall.
 
I'll never forget doing push ups in a real deluge of a storm, water pouring off my cap and mingling with the deep puddle into which my face kept going in and out of as we "gave him twenty" for some transgression, real or imagined. He was a force to be reckoned with and I had no idea of why he was so intense since he was no longer in Viet Nam; now I know.
 
Like Amy and I like to say, we have two speeds: on and off, and so did this professional soldier. He was either training you to be a soldier/machine so that you would survive combat or he was off duty - there was no middle ground for teenagers because he had joined as a teenager and he had fought teenagers alongside other teenagers and some of those teenagers had died for you and me, some of them losing life or limb saving other teenagers. In fact, a lot of our soldiers, especially our combat soldiers, are and have always been teenagers. So there was no mercy shown us and we didn't bother asking for any.
 
The Viet Nam war, or the USA's part of that long, long struggle, was raging in 1968, the year I turned eighteen. "War is hell," as the Civil War Major General William Tecumseh Sherman said so famously. Easy to say, not so easy to live through, as he was the first to acknowledge. I didn't endure war because I had a birthday of January 22 and there was a draft lottery in 1968 that was  based on your birthday. I was lucky. I was 333 out of 366 and the Red Chinese would have had to be landing on the beach at Coney Island before they would have drafted me.
 
But they didn't draft me and I'm here, lucky as ever, writing on Memorial Day, a holiday that you don't celebrate or at least you shouldn't celebrate without pausing and giving thanks for the incredible contributions of so many people who've given their lives, been injured, or sacrificed in myriad other ways to keep us free to celebrate - and don't forget their families.

Thank you to the millions of people who've given their all so that I can enjoy the lucky part of my astrological chart with Amy and Zane and my friends and family. I still don't feel worthy of saying anything but "Thank you."


 

  
April 28, 2015 
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