The baby boomer generation made its entrance into this world on the heels of World War Two. Johnny came marching home again, wartime sweethearts became husband and wife, families were established, and so were the Suburbs. The American Dream had expanded to include a car in every driveway, a TV in every living room, and you, yes you, could own your Very Own Home.
But at What Price?
In the 40’s, the call to Action was heard around the world. Hitler was confiscating Europe, killing off ethnic groups from the Gypsies to the Jews. War was conducted in Africa via Rommel, and the Pacific became the battleground for a war in itself. Uncle Sam wanted You, and our men Went.
One such man was a young navy man from Brooklyn.
Alfred Clifford Thompson was one of three children born of Norwegian immigrant parents. His father was a carpenter and a longshoreman on the docks of New York. In the Thompson family, you didn’t speak English until you went to public school. The upbringing was strict, but there was life on the streets. Sundays were spent in the Norwegians Seaman’s Church called Bethelship. Weekdays the Thompson Boys went to school, learned English, and what it was to be an American.
When the call to War was proclaimed throughout the United States, both Alfred and his brother Garfield joined the navy.
I share that with you because we are celebrating Memorial Day this weekend. These men who so readily enlisted to serve our country and defend our freedoms are in their 80’s now. Old men. Forgotten men. Do you recognize who they really are when you see them on the street or being guided in a wheelchair?
My cousin Alfred has many posting about his father, my uncle, on his Face Book. The following are two of his posts:
“On 7 December 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Over the next few years millions of Americans went to war. This very young man was one of them. He served in the war in the Pacific and landed solders and Marines on island in seven different landings. He was my Dad.”
This quote accompanies a picture of two very important flag raising.
“I wonder how many people were at both places? My Dad brought Marines to Iwo Jima driving an LCVP during the war. He was at Ground Zero as a fire department chaplain at 9/11.”
Memorial Day. My cousin has honored his father with great respect, reverence, appreciation and love. Memorial Day. All these men who survived this war were Someone’s Father, Brother, Son. All the men who fought in Korea, Viet Nam, Desert Storm, the most current Iraqui War and Afghanistan…they are also someone’s Father, Brother, Son.
And how about the Women? Veterans All.
Will you honor them? Will you take a moment in your busy day, or weekend party to Thank one of our Veterans?
God be with them, and with you. And God Bless America.