My husband and I, are remembering our fathers this week. My father, George, and my husband's father, Boris, died 3 days apart. Their legacies, are both interesting. We think that the two men, so opposite in many ways, had so much in common that they had a "date" in the next world. Boris was an immigrant to this country; my Dad could have been a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. What did they have in common? Love of this country.
They both served in WW II, my father in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, and Boris in France and Germany. They loved SOS, spam, souse, and organ meats. They could both sing Maresie Doats
, Don't sit under the Apple tree, You are my sunshine, my only sunshine and She'll be coming around the mountain, and loved slang words like schlemiel, S.N.A.F.U., and my Dad's favorite for us, "wrong way Corrigan!" They were both loved people and loved to talk.
My father served in the US Army Air Corps (US Air Force) as a Chaplain for over 30 years. My father-in-law, served in the US Army and civil service.
Two examples, which of course, do not include the legacies of fun, frivolity, and love they left to their families, but what they left to their country.....
This is the Memorial Window at the Strategic Air Command Chapel at Offutt AFB, NE. It commemorates the service, duty and loyalty of USAF comrades during WW II. It was my father's project. Boris, left another legacy, his valuable skill as a translator during the cold war.
These men, and the men and women of their generation gave everything they had and more to this country. They came back from war to the GI Bill, and a country that thanked them for their service. The middle class was born, unions were strong, one man could raise a family and buy a house on his wages. Yes, we were more homogeneous then, and a lot of it was due to homogeneity forged in the military when all our fathers were just "GI Issue." Our country and our parents worked to rebuild Europe and Japan; many admirable things were accomplished.
President Jimmy Carter stated the following in his recent book, Our Endangered Values:
"Our people have been justifiably proud to see America's power and influence used to preserve peace for ourselves and others, to promote economic and social justice, to raise high the banner of freedom and human rights, to protect the quality of our environment, to alleviate human suffering, to enhance the rule of law, and to cooperate with other peoples to reach these common goals."
These were the goals of our fathers, ours and yours. Their legacy. They had a common bond, whether new immigrant or old immigrant, a bond forged in adversity. Now, in adversity, all we have done is polarize ourselves, forgetting the values that brought us together as a nation. For the sake of our fathers and forefathers, we should get back to the business of building a nation for everyone. ALL of us.
Again, to quote Carter, ..."our own well being [as a nation]would be enhanced by restoring the trust, admiration, and friendship that our nation formerly enjoyed among other peoples."