Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Postcard: Still Counting

Norman Rockwell

"I pray I will never forget the good things that can happen
when our country is united."—Jiggs

Tom Brokaw called them the Greatest Generation. He's quick to point out they weren't perfect, but they pulled together when times were tough. My dad kept a journal while he was a soldier during World War II. When he got his orders to ship home, he was sick and he wasn't able to leave with the other guys. Finally he was loaded onto a hospital ship; that day he made his final entry in the form of a prayer.

"I pray to God that the day will never come when I no longer appreciate the privilege of being alive. If I have learned nothing more than appreciation during my 25 months overseas then my time has been profitably spent.

"God, help me remember the heat rash, how I suffered with the miserable heartburn, the hundreds of cankers that I'm hospitalized with, the diarrhea, the impetigo that covers me and spreads so fast, and the unbearable heat.

"If my time overseas has been unpleasant, it has nevertheless been an experience I would never trade for a million dollars. I have acquired a sense of values and an appreciation of life that I never had before. I hope I shall always remember my experiences. I pray I'll always appreciate my country and what my friends died to protect."

My dad Jiggs (left) and his buddies in Australia, 1943


Tracy said...

Wow, your father certainly knew where his priorities were...wonderful story! and thank you for sharing as a reminder to all of us; we have so much to be grateful for!

Heidi said...

Wow. What great words from Grandpa. How important it is to write stuff down. I love a great quote, but when it's from someone dear to me, it's one million times better. I gotta frame one of those.

Kay Dennison said...

What a great man he was!!!!

the wrath of khandrea said...

and there goes a perfectly good mascara job for today.

i really appreciate this post, marty. thank you.