Thank a veteran for their service to our country today. We may not always agree with the causes in which they have been engaged to serve their country, but that can never detract from the sacrifice that many have made.
Red’s grandfather (whom he never met) fought in World War I in France and his Dad fought in World War II in France, Belgium and Germany. Dad never said much about his service – only that he was an ambulance driver and that he kept a rifle in the ambulance even though he wasn’t supposed to. “I wasn’t about to be the only soldier in Europe without a weapon”, as he put it. When Red looked at some of his letters from the war, it became clear that he had served much of the time in a Battalion Aid Station. That is a unit that operates just behind the front lines and is the first place that wounded and dying soldiers are taken. So he probably was transporting wounded soldiers from the front to medical units. Red cannot even imagine the suffering and death that his Dad witnessed first hand at an age when all Red was thinking about was drinking, smoking, partying and trying to get a date (in between studying and going to class). Dad may have even had a tremendous sense of guilt for having come through the war “without as much as a scratch thanks to the Nazis” as he put it. Only much too late, Red realized that he had to forgive his Dad for being somewhat emotionally withdrawn and extremely cautious for the rest of his all too short life.
So Dad, thanks for your service and Red, for one, will never forget what you endured for your country, friends and family.