From the heart - Russel Weiskircher
#1

It’s been called many things and expressed in many ways, things like the quick, the core, the meat, the bottom line, the reason, the rationale, the purpose-or simply put: What’s it all about?

 

You can be sure that this was not the main consideration on the day I came to fully realize what World War II, what America was and is all about. And sixty years later nothing has really changed.

 

I recall that it was the fall of 1945 and several thousand of us returning soldiers, fresh from the trans-Atlantic journey and the landing at Hampton Roads, Virginia were jammed into old wooden passenger cars on a train headed for Indiantown Gap, Pa. and final discharge from our duration and six war mobilization. We were jubilant, loud, elated. We were anticipating and bragging and planning our homecoming when suddenly, like a lightning bolt, like a flash of electricity, something shushed the crowd. I looked up to find out what happened and saw that everyone was crowded to one side of the car, straining to see the passing landscape. Me too! And there it was, the graphic answer to the question we were not even asking--- Like a Norman Rockwell cover for the Saturday Evening Post, like Americana on canvass, was a sandlot softball game Kids teamed against kids. Kids playing and running and batting and hooting and hollering. There was the ump, the stray dog; there were the doting parents, the water bucket and the collection hat. It struck us simultaneously!! We had not seen kids play in months, even years. Europe’s children had been frightened, some starved and scared and hidden from the Italians, the Germans, the Russians, and yes the English and the Americans and soldiers and war in general. Here in America our kids could and were playing! There were homes and schools and churches and clubs and scouts and life was good; the future bright! Remember this was long before 9-11 and the World Trade Center trauma. We went overseas to keep the war from our shores. We went there so it wouldn’t happen here.

 

History has since repeated itself. Troops have crossed oceans and waged war in Asia and again in Europe and in Afghanistan and the Middle East. At this writing we are at war against terrorists. Battle lines aren’t clearly defined today. Goals and missions are less distinct. But when someone thanks me for World War II service or questions what it was like and what it was worth, my thoughts immediately fly to that sandlot softball scene along the railroad tracks. Men and women mobilize for war so that kids can play, that’s the American way!

 

Russell Weiskircher

 

I will be posting this on his page later tonight. Ain't this what it's all about folks? ^_^

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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