MEMORIAL DAY 2013: A Reminder of Aging Parents and Their Sacrifices– Past and Present– And My Uncle Max


The burial statistics at Arlington Cemetery alone seem staggering: an average of 29 veteran’s each weekday and 6,900 a year.
HELP AGING PARENTS honors the dead and salutes the living and their families for their sacrifices.

On Memorial Day I think about my Uncle Max. He was a WWII Veteran. He was with the Signal Corps in the Battle of the Bulge and what I know about his service during the war was a result of fuzzy memories when I was young and family conversations when I was older.

Uncle Max was a mild-mannered, sweet man, would give the “shirt off his back” to anyone. It was hard for me to envision him fighting. I don’t think one fights in the Signal Corps unless necessary, but I do think one has to be very brave. If he was very brave it wasn’t apparent when he finally came back home.

I say “finally came back home” because Uncle Max came home a first time. I was very young and asleep, but I remember someone woke me up and carried me downstairs to see him when he came into the house that night. I remember there was a flurry of activity and a lot of conversation earlier that day preceding his coming home; but I was too young to know why. I only knew something big was happening.

The rest is a blank, except for the fact that he wasn’t home very long. I believe he “re-enlisted” because there was a lot of family talk about that, but I don’t think I knew what that word meant.

Looking back and getting to know him for many years after his second “tour of duty”  (he lived to be 90), and having a lot of years to learn about WWII and the Battle of the Bulge (from reading and TV–not from him), I’m sure he must have been very brave. But neither his actions nor his conversations conveyed this. He never talked about the war.

He was simply my Uncle Max.

One thought on “MEMORIAL DAY 2013: A Reminder of Aging Parents and Their Sacrifices– Past and Present– And My Uncle Max

  1. Yes, they were definitely a different breed. I’m sure there was PTSD back then, too, although it didn’t have a name, but most WWII and Korean War vets simply came home and went about building the way of life they had fought to defend. Of course, there was a military draft back then as well, and I think that the concept of universal service made everyone feel like we had “skin in the game”. Now, with an all-volunteer military, unless there’s a volunteer in the family, we’re far removed from the wars fought in our name. I’m not sure that’s good for the military or for the country.

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