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.
This is our fourth 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, understanding 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 fellow-travelers. 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.”