"Loving for a Living"
The link above is to a very good blog whose writers and dog lovers tell, in multiple ways and better than I could, the stories of our dogs of war and their human veterans. My dad was not a pet person - I did not know this till I was an adult since we had pets all our lives - my mom was and of course, we children were. Below you can read more about my dad, a great man and a proud veteran.
My father was a veteran in WWII. He served in the India/Burma theatre as an Army private loading bombs onto planes. He mostly only talked about the War in termsof accomplishment - what the sacrifices of his comrades and families made to keep the world free from the very true tyranny overtly threatening to destroy it. All my dad's brothers served as well - the four of them - and all were blessed to come home. The only time I saw my dad weep over what he had endured was when I unthinkingly took him to see "Memphis Belle." The Memphis Belle was a war plane like the ones my dad worked on which flew out of Britain to Europe. The focus of the film was the last flight of the Memphis Belle. She was riddled with bullets and flak but her crew and pilots managed against all odds to get her and them home to safely in Britain. This is how I recall it - if I am wrong, please correct me. As I sat next to my dad watching this film, I saw him weeping. "We were only 19 years old. We knew nothing." I cannot imagine being put to the test our veterans of all wars have been and at such young ages. My dad, Robert Beach, for whom I am named, spoke of seeing planes leave and then not come back; of comrades go and die in service to not only our country but to the world. The tyranny we face now in this first part of the 21st century is one more of inertia, of ease, of entitlement - the good we have is from God and our service men and women; the laziness is from expecting too much because we "deserve it." Shame on us for, in our lives of taking, consuming, irresponsibility, lack of respect to our fellows, we dishonor the sacrifices which gave us these choices. I challenge everyone reading to closely examine your lives - does any of this ring true? How and in what way can you, not necessarily being in the Armed Forces, serve our country and keep our freedoms? I certainly include myself as one who has failed the spirit of my dad and his comrades. We need people to ethically run for public office, to participate on local boards and community service organizations, to challenge our Federal system to re-read the Constitution AFTER we re-read it ourselves - it isthe bedrock and foundation of this country. One thing for sure my father did not like was the up and coming globalization of this world - he foresaw financial and moral catastrophe - much of which has come to pass and much of which can be corrected. Memorial Day - remember, reflect, re-commit yourselves to the good of all peoples and animals in this land and the world.
My father died after a fall at the VA hospital in Sioux Falls, SD. He fell in the lobby probably from a spontaneous hip fracture. His body could not recover - his spirit wanted him to be with his fellow vets - he loved this hospital. My
sister and I were with him when he died - I informed the nurse of his death. This hospital does not hide its dead in a block covered gurney. Their bodies, which sacrificed for this country, are draped with an American flag, they and their loved ones go on the final journey through the halls, where everyone able stands in respect and salutes a fallen soldier. My father was a great man, though his name will not be known to many beyond those of us who loved him and those to whom he reached out. Thank you, veterans - I and my house will strive to honor you more.