Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Day of Remembrance

I was born mid WWII so I have no actual memory of the War, my first memories are of my father returning from the occupation of Japan but my formative years were all War related. My stepfather served in Italy and was active in VFW and The American Legion. I grew up playing around the bar stools of the Odessa American Legion Post. As a teenager I would go to shoot pool and play ping-pong and of course all the adults I knew were veterans. That generation is now almost gone. My folks were among the last and had the misfortune to have out lived all their friends.

What brings back the memories is a small book I tend to pick up and read around November 11, not every year but most. The book is "Up Front" by Bill Mauldin. I've had it for years, it has lasted through several wife's, and many moves. If the notes I have written on the inside cover are to be believed I bought it used in 1968 for $45 USD. The $45 figure is hard to believe because in real 2013 dollars it was close to $300 and in 1968 I was a poor student trying to dodge Vietnam and make a living on the airport.

Bottom line, even though it is just a small book of cartoons with Mr. Mauldin's comments it captures the realness of WWII better than any of the histories or novels I've read.  

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