I introduced you some time ago, dear reader, to my favorite veteran.
He’s my father. Dad served in the Navy during World War II. He saw plenty of combat throughout the Mediterranean theater of operations. Dad took part in three land invasions: Oran in North Africa, Sicily and in Salerno, Italy.
His ship got sunk during the Sicilian campaign. He shot a German bomber out of the sky while manning a deck gun.
I have thought of Dad during the past couple of days as national reaction poured forth about the neo-Nazis who took part in that Charlottesville, Va., protest; actually, I think of Dad — and Mom — every single day. The Nazis joined other hate groups — Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists — to protest the taking down of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, spoke for a lot of World War II veterans and their families when he said his brother “didn’t die fighting Hitler” just to let these neo-Nazis’ actions “go unchallenged.”
Dad died in September 1980. I don’t recall then the emergence of these neo-Nazi groups getting the kind of exposure they get today. How would he respond to them? How would Dad react to the hideous rhetoric that comes from individuals wearing the swastika symbols worn by those who sought to kill him in 1943 and 1944?
To be candid, I don’t recall having that discussion with Dad when he was among us.
However, I knew my father pretty well. He was a proud American. He was proud of his service defending the nation during its darkest time. Dad was one of the millions of Americans who comprised the Greatest Generation.
I believe he would be angry as hell at those who rise up to tear at the nation’s fabric. Although the name “Donald John Trump” wasn’t on anyone’s radar when Dad died, I believe he would be enraged at the seeming timidity from the president when it involves neo-Nazis.
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