Memorial Day 2016

My father, Rabbi Abraham Avrech, 42nd Div. U.S. Army, Colonel, Ret., conducts services during the Korean War.

My father, Chaplain Rabbi Abraham Avrech, z’l  (1919-2014) U.S. Army, 42nd Div., Colonel, Ret., conducts services during the Korean War.

On Memorial Day, we remember all the members of our armed services who paid the ultimate price in service to this great country.

Our eternal gratitude.

Photo Jun 6, 2013, 2-04 PM

This is our third Memorial Day Weekend without my father. He passed away on March 15, 2014, age 94. Born in a small town in Poland, my father came to America as a child. He loved America with all his heart. He was deeply grateful that America was a safe haven for Jews in a world where Jew-hatred was a malignant, genocidal norm.

My father was a gentle and kind soul. But he had no patience for pacifists, appeasers, right wing isolationists, or leftist utopians. My father believed that evil must be ruthlessly defeated. He served honorably as a Chaplain  in the U.S. Army through World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

I once asked my father what his most difficult duty was as a Chaplain.

He said: “Counseling soldiers who were on their way into combat.”

“What did they say?”

“That they were scared.”

“What did you say?”

“That they were right to be scared.”

I then asked my father of what he was most proud of in his long career as a Chaplain.

He said: “There was a group of Christian soldiers on their way to combat in Korea. I, an Orthodox Jew, was the only Chaplain available to perform services for them. I acted as their Chaplain, and they were incredibly grateful. For most of them, I was the first and last Jew they ever met.”

“Do you know how many came back?”

My father shook his head: “No, but I can still see their faces.”

G-d bless the United States of America.

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9 Comments

  1. Alemaster
    Posted June 1, 2016 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    I continue to marvel that we, as a nation, have done something to deserve such fine men and women. To channel the fictional Rear Admiral George Tarrant in “The Bridges of Toko-Ri, ” “where do we get such men?” Hope you had a respectful and honorable Memorial Day. regards, Alemaster

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  2. Bill Brandt
    Posted May 30, 2016 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Of my father’s unit in the 82nd Airborne who were sent to Sicily for the invasion, 80% were either killed or wounded.

    Then they talk about the “Greatest Generation” – but I think of the 18-19 year olds of this generation sent to Afghanistan or Iraq.

    Or the ones at places like Khe Sanh a generation ago…

    Here’s to those who answered the call and didn’t return.

    America has always had a generatin who answered the call.

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  3. GetThereJustAsSoon
    Posted May 30, 2016 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    This might not be an exact quote: If a man saves a life, it is as he has saved the whole world. It seems to me that a man, such as your father, whoen blessed those around him with the way he lived his life, it is as if he has blessed the whole world.

    How very wonderful that you had such a father, one who faithfully served God and country. Bless you and yours.

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  4. Patrick Howard
    Posted May 29, 2016 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Respect, to both Colonel Avrech and the man he raised.

    Thank you.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted May 29, 2016 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      Patrick:

      Thanks so much and thank you for your years of active duty.

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  5. Barry
    Posted May 29, 2016 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Quite a nice story from and about your Dad.

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  6. Michael Kennedy
    Posted May 29, 2016 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    When I was five years old, a friend of my cousin’s in his bomb group, sent me his medals. Before they reached me, he was shot down and did not survive. I have a photo of me in a little brown suit wearing the ribbons.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted May 29, 2016 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      Michael:

      Thanks so much for sharing such a meaningful story.

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