Category Archives: Memorial Day

Nuance

I went to a talk by Rex Smith of the Times union newspaper who was talking about “Communication for Citizenship: How Journalism Can Help Sustain Society’s Progress.” One of the points he made was that if he were hiring a new reporter, he’d rather get someone who understand nuance rather than someone who was just a good writer. As the chair of the Education for Journalism Committee of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, he is seeking to develop the same thing in young potential readers.
But, the last questioner (I) asked, “How do you teach ‘nuance’? It seems that so many institutions in the past 20 years are polarized, from Congress to elements of the press.” On the hiring side at least, Rex talked about looking for intelligence, people who can look at the whole picture.

Some people still seem to think that it is inconsistent to “support the troops” unless one supports the war they are fighting in. I so disagree. I think that one can oppose the war in Iraq, which I have from the very beginning, actually before it started, while appreciating the sacrifices of people in the military and their families.

I think “supporting our troops” would have meant getting them the vehicles and body armor necessary to withstand roadside bombs much earlier. I think “supporting our troops” involves supporting a G.I. Bill for our returning troops. I think “supporting our troops” means getting them home ASAP.


ROG

Memorial Day 2007

Somehow Blogger did in the posts I wrote for the past three days. One was the post I did about Lydia, for which I just posted pictures instead. Yesterday’s post on the parenting question I decided to recreate, as it was relatively short. the third, of course, was this one. The problem, which others have experienced as well, is “being worked on.

The gist of the third lost post had to do with the tension of being largely a pacifist and opposing this particular war, for reasons best expressed here, with an appreciation of the sacrifices people in the military and their families endure. I’ve said it before, but it bears saying again: I don’t fault the soldiers for fighting in Iraq. I fault the leadership that put them there, ignoring prewar intelligence.

Someone on one of the Sunday morning shows, a family member of a military man killed in Iraq or Afghanistan referred to Arlington National Cemetery as a “beautiful awful place”, beautiful in the neatly arranged gravestones, awful in terms of what those gravestones represent.

Anyway, try to remember that today is not just “the unofficial beginning of summer” or the end of a three-day weekend.
***
Kimberly Dozier, a CBS News reporter who almost died in Iraq a year ago this week (and two of her colleagues did perish) has a special tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 10 pm EDT called Flashpoint that I will watch.
***
Charles Nelson Reilly died recently. Johnny B. packaged a video tribute so I didn’t have to.

What Did You Do In the War, Daddy?

My father entered military service on May 1945, just after V-E Day. It was still the period of segregated units. He didn’t talk much (or at all) about his time in the army. What little I know were stories my father told my mother, and my mother told us, of course, long after the fact and second hand.

One of these piecemeal tales involved the fact that my father was temporarily raised to corporal (or sergeant) for a particular task, because the army wanted someone of that level to do the task. Then, when the task was complete, he was busted back down to private (or corporal), something I gather he was none too happy about. (Allegedly, lowering his rank was done to save money for the government.) If this sounds vague to you, trust me that this is all I’ve got.

A year or so ago, my sister Marcia had contacted the VA and was advised that the records that would have included my father’s records were destroyed in a fire in 1973. We found it strange that he only served 1 1/2 years, rather than 2-4 years, being honorably discharged in December 1946.

The one other aspect of the story is that there was a copy of an article from Ebony magazine from 1945 or 1946 that described “Negro servicemen” fraternizing with the local (white) women in Germany (I think), much to the chagrin of some, that was discovered in my father’s papers (and temporarily misplaced by me. Subsequently, there was a Newsweek article that reported on the Ebony piece.) I have no idea if this had anything to do with my father – it could have been about a friend of his – but straw grasping is what I’ve got.

So, blogiverse, on this Memorial Day, I’m hoping that somebody out there knows something about the military career of one Leslie Harold Green (b. 9/26/1926) from Binghamton, NY. If so, please e-mail me, if you would. Thank you.