Happy Memorial Day! I read somewhere that today is a day when, together with those who came back, we remember those who did not. That really stuck with me because that is exactly how I would have defined it if I had thought of it first. 🙂
I was at my parents’ house today to celebrate my niece’s 6th birthday (it’s actually not until Wednesday but I don’t think she could contain her excitement for another 2 days). I may have mentioned in previous posts that my father was a US Marine that fought in Vietnam and marched with the USMC Marching Band (do NOT confuse this with their Drum & Bugle Corp). I brought my Time’s Atlas of the Second World War so he could see what I had been raving about for the past month or so and he greatly enjoyed looking through the book. We never talk about Vietnam but we can talk endlessly about World War II. I mentioned that the only problem I really had with this book was that there were some places mentioned in “Guadacanal Diary” by Richard Tregaskis that I couldn’t find on the maps in this book. And so he came out with a board game…
My dad used to be an avid collector of Avalon Hill games. These are old games of strategy (they may have made other types of games but I’m not sure – does anyone know if they did?). He used to have a football, baseball, and a Le Mans game but I don’t think he has those anymore. He brought out the Guadacanal game and we poured over that map for a bit. It certainly helped. He also has Battle of the Bulge, D-Day, and Midway so I’m sure those will be pulled back out again in short order. I can never seem to get enough of maps, especially old ones!
As I’m explaining to my mom that I just can’t buy any more books because my “to-be-read” bookshelf is overflowing, my dad gave me another three books. These are pretty old books (at least to me). The first one I’ve actually already read (and would highly recommend if you haven’t read it) which was “The Longest Day” by Cornelius Ryan. This was the original paperback version released in 1959 and apparently was only $0.60 at the time. For some reason, it’s much smaller than my version and significantly cheaper too!
The second book he gave me was a Reader’s Digest publication called “Secrets & Spies – Behind-the-Scenes Stories of World War II”. This included a pamphlet book called “Great Photographs of World War II”. Both were given to him by my great-grandmother in 1964 (he would have been about 17 years old). My fascination with World War II started when I was about 15 after I did a report for an English class so we weren’t too far apart age-wise when we started our love of military history.
The final book is called “This Was Your War” which is a collection of articles or excerpts from books written by a slew of authors such as Irwin Shaw, Robert Leckie, and Ernie Pyle. It also included another pamphlet-style book called “Victory at Sea: Flattops” by Christopher Douglas (this was purchased for $0.25!!). Both of these were given to him by my grandmother in the early 60’s. I had to had all these books to my bookshelf which I think is about to start chucking books at me if I don’t get it together and start getting through these books faster!
I hope that you all have had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. And thank you to all those that have served and are serving and their families, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice. I’ll never be able to articulate the depth of my gratitude for what you all have done so we could enjoy the freedoms we have!