My Dad, who fought in WWII as a young man– a teenager, really– is buried in the National Cemetery in Houston, Texas. It makes sense, since this was the seminal event in his life. He drove a tank, and he managed to come back without any physical damage. I think, though, that the cliché is unavoidable: he was wounded in other ways and in important ways he never healed. I miss him– he’s been dead for nearly 30 years– but it’s hard to get sentimental about Memorial Day.

Or, rather, I can get sentimental about his life on Memorial Day, but not about the military or the country or war. It’s not fair to second guess him. If I were his age, and had heard about the dangers of Fascism, I might have made the same choice, and gone off to the grand adventure. I don’t what I would have chosen any more than I know if he made the right choice. I know the price was very high for his choice. I also think that the conscientious objectors at Patapsco had a point, too.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Post Navigation