Way Way Back Machine: (Grand)Father's Day

Dad got breakfast at Roscoe's this week, so I'll use this Father's Day for the dead.

 

Fortunately, unlike Quantum Leap, the way way back machine can go beyond my own lifetime.

 

My grandfather didn't talk about the war much, definitely never talked about the horrors of war i've read about, the things seen in films, talked about by the dwindling number of survivors.

 

He did talk about how easy French women were, how seeing the survivors at Buchenwald convinced him, sixty years before I came to the same conclusion, that there was no god. He talked about how the black soldiers were just as good as the white soldiers, a fact I think he might have come to retroactively, after helping to raise li'l old me. He talked about driving for Patton, and the value of cigarettes in a continent ravaged by war.

 

He also told me about how he acquired his first camera. That story's HERE

.

 

Looking back through the photos of his I found after his death, there's little of War. There're snapshots of Europe, of women they met along the way, of German soldiers surrendering, of a concert held for the allied troops at Nuremburg stadium. Of his fellow soldiers. And, though I can't figure out exactly how he came by them, what appear to be two or three shots from a Nazi soldier's camera, of Nazi troops marching in parade formation.

 

I take a lot of pictures. Do a fair job of documenting my life. But it does make me wonder, knowing how much of my life I don't capture with my camera, what exactly he saw out there. What did he bring back that existed only in his memory.

 

 

luc, Lauren Martin and 7 more people faved this
  • the_Craigen 7y

    My grandfather never talked about the war much either. What little he did say boiled down to "War is horrible, don't believe the movies or anyone who says otherwise" and "Killing is never honourable, no matter what the justification is".

    At his funeral one of his surviving squadmates told me a few stories about how when on patrol, my grandfather was always asked to take point because he seemed to be able to sense which buildings were booby-trapped and which ones had German soldiers in them.

    I can't imagine the toll experiences like that would take on a person's mind...I think the war convinced him, too, that there was no god. It certainly convinced him that politicians weren't to be trusted.
  • Tod Brilliant 7y

    My pop (WW2, believe it or not) never talked about It either. I do know bits and pieces of The Experience that Shattered Him, but never heard the A-Z.

    Somehow we think of this silence as the badge of valiant men...I'm not so sure...I think it's more a sign of men who saw too much, who came as close to "looking at the face of god" as is possible. It could be that it was War itself the Bible writers were speaking of when they mentioned that looking at "Him" would cause insanity.

    Fortunately, as we face war with a country whose democratic government we overthrew back in 1952 (Iran), one that may well start the largest conflagration yet witnessed, the human effects aren't weighed by the small men at the helm.
  • C. Cooper 7y

    Cool photo and story.
  • my old world 7y

    There are some experiences that can only be shared by your brothers that were there with you. Stuff that you just don't want to "trouble" the ones who get to live through life innocent and lucky. Stuff that you really can't even tell the generation of warriors that came before you, and memories that they have no way to convey to you. Everyone who sees it, knows it, and everyone who knows it, just wants to forget it. "In war, there are no unwounded soldiers." -Jose Narosky

    Your write up would make your grandfather proud.
  • Chris Yambing 6y

    All the old folk had some story to say about the War here at home. everyone had lost someone along the way, but never really talked about it. cheers to your grandpa.
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