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Sgt. Rock I : The Art Of War

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Apr-8-2010

Tea

I have always understood the romance of being a Soldier. I come from a long line of soldiers. I know why WWI was the last romantic war, I know..too much. I have seen too much.

I know who Rupert Brooke is. Was.

I have been to battle fields and memorials on three Continents.

I am not a pacifist. I was taught three different ways to kill anyone larger than I am , and I hope that I could have the nerve to do any of them if anything threatened one of my children.

There were two things that have had a major influence on my thoughts about war.

One was the man in the photo above, my Grandfather, Tea. As long as America was on the European front, Tea was there. For a large part, he ran around in a little boat, throwing out smoke bombs, to hide the entry of ships.

He was in Africa, he was in Italy, he was in Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest. I have photos. He liked beer.

He wrote many letters to his young son ( my father) in his lovely handwriting. One day, I shall donate his letters to that place they have to donate military letters to. But, right now, I can’t bear to give Tea up, I loved him so much.

But he told my Father that whenever he saw a dead soldier, there was a look of surprise on their face.

I have never doubted this. I know that this is true. It couldn’t happen to me.

The second thing was D-Day.

I could not know, when I was 5 years old, weeping and wailing in the window well of that VW, that within 3 years, we would be back in Germany ( no, I still cannot speak German). But there we were, in a Big City this time.

My Father actually worked in an old I.G.Farben building ( you know, Zyclon B). It was a rather attractive building, very fascist looking, but pretty, in a rather stolid sort of way.

I digress.

When I was about 8 or maybe 9, we went to the beaches at Normandy . It was low tide, I had that bunker behind me, I knew all about WWII, there were still bits of steel lying about in the sand, the remains of D-Day. It was yet another gray day and the sea was so far away, there was no place to hide. It was really a long run.

As a child, I was horrified. I had a terrible nightmare that night, the screeching of the seagulls had a lot to do with my bad dreams and the next day, my little brother got lost. I was frantic. I found him.

I have been to those beaches about 5 times in my life, as chance would have it, usually at low tide. I remain flabbergasted.

I read a lot, I prefer history, I have a penchant for WWII. I once read that the powers that were, when planning out D-Day, actually calculated how much canon fodder that they would need.

Imagine that.

I cannot watch * Saving Private Ryan* without covering my eyes. There is no canon fodder in my world, there are beloved sons and fathers. Every bit of cannon fodder is my only son.

I loathe the impersonality of modern warfare. It has become a computer game.

There is no honor any more.

And yet, I do understand that call of the distant drummer.

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