Thursday, October 6, 2016

Yesterday I made a post about my dad.

I suppose it needs something clarified because a reader asked me a couple of questions about it.

First, the kitchen table lessons were spread out over the period of several months. 

The other thing is that this happened fifty years ago. After I posted it a lot of little things returned to me. There were more calculations than I had posted, as I was also managing fuel to a certain degree. I also had to keep track of picket boats and submarines in case we were forced down over the water. 

That entire 20 hour day was mentally exhausting but I persevered and triumphed. I managed to do all the math required for an airplane to go from Tinian to Japan and back.

Dad was not teaching me to bomb anyone. He was teaching me to navigate. He bore no ill will to the Japanese people whatsoever. He knew the average Japanese just wanted to do what he was doing at the time. He was raising a bunch of kids.

He did, however, bear a lot of ill will towards the governments of the time on both sides for allowing something like that to happen.

He said that the average guy was (and is) a pawn for the government that happened to be in power. 

We discussed the Tokyo fire raids one night and while he agreed that it was probably necessary to destroy their industry and win the war, he said that it was a very terrible thing. Over 100,000 people died during that raid.

During the time Dad taught school at the kitchen table it wasn't all numbers and calculations. There were a lot of things that transpired. It was a time to teach life, too.

When I served in the United States Army years later Dad and I had a long talk about the morality of war, governments, big business and a few other things. We both agreed that my service as a soldier was somewhat conditional. There were a few things I could not be ordered to do. For example I would steadfastly refuse to fire on American citizens except for reasons of immediate self-defense.

Strangely enough, I later had a discussion with my battery commander over this and  found out we were in total agreement. He was what the Marines and Navy would call a mustang officer. 

He had enlisted as a private, applied for the Warrant Officer Program, flew helicopters as one and eventually commissioned. He confessed to me that really wasn't enamored with having to 'blow the brains out of some poor bastard in a spider hole that he'd really rather sit down and have a beer with'.

I am the oldest of an entire generation in our family. On both sides, actually. I am also the oldest of the five children my parents had.

I was fortunate to have the attention of my father when he was still fairly young and energetic. As time passed and he was ground down by life and the truth be known, I probably received an inordinate amount of attention. 

Was it fair? Probably not, but life isn't always fair. 

Still, as I look back I am damned glad to be raised by such a man. 

Almost all of my mentors were WW2 vets and I realize now I was raised on the shoulders of giants. What a view that was!

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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