Monday, May 26, 2008
True Memorial Day
My Uncle Al transitioned last year. He was well into his eighties and along with him went many important untold stories. Always the perennial big kid, he was absolutely my favorite uncle.
Uncle Al served this country in the big one: WWII. I knew he fought on the front battle lines in Germany as I remember the SS helmet and other war stuff he brought back (which later disappeared). But what I didn't know was that he was part of the very first U.S. military liberators of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The definitive first on the scene. I didn't know any of this because he NEVER spoke of it. He said very little to my aunt who never pressed him, and vaguely recounted to my cousin (his only daughter) of his recollections. Not even to my mother, the sister who adored him. A few years ago he received a letter of thanks and apology from the government of France. What??? One can only imagine the implications of his lifelong silence.
Today I honor my Uncle Al with reverence and much love. I miss you Uncle. What I wouldn't give for another afternoon with you to knock down a few beers and say thank you.
"In war, there are no unwounded soldiers". ~José Narosky