Lucas Weismann

Another Winter Gone – 19

“It’s a bad idea Jack.”  Said Marcus.  “Now isn’t the time to go on some fool crusade.”

“What’re you talking about dad?  You fought the Germans in World War II.  You were over there, doing what you needed to for your country.  How is this any different?”

“You want to know how it’s different?  We haven’t been attacked.  Do you even know what you’re fighting for?”

“Do you know why you stopped fighting?”

“I never stopped fighting Jack, I just don’t think sending good kids off to kill other good kids and die face down in the mud is the answer to these slap-fights between countries.”

“Slap fights?  Dad, the commies are coming and they’ve got spies, real-life bad guys trying to hurt people like mom and Grandma Ellen and you think I should do nothing?”

“Jack, I don’t think you should do nothing, I just don’t want you to go to war.  When you get- if you get back, you’ll understand.”

“If I get back?  What kind of talk is that?”

“Honest.  Hard.  Heartbreaking.  Jack, do you know how many guys I went to war with, how many I fought with?  Every one of us thought he was going to be getting back home.  Do you remember what I told you about how I earned the Silver star?”

“Yes.”

“How many people died there.”

“You said you and twenty of your buddies made it out of there.”

“Did I ever tell you how many we started with?”

“You said it was your company.”

“That’s right and how big is that?”

“Between 100-150 soldiers.”

“That’s right.  Now I want you to think about it.  Assume that I had a 100-man company, what does that mean?”

“It means you got almost all your men out of there.”

“Stop thinking like a kid.  Yes, I got most of my men out and a few from the other guys squads.  What does it mean?”

“It means… three-quarters of the guys didn’t get out of there.”

“That’s right.  80 guys who knew, just knew they were getting back home.  They didn’t.  Every one of them had parents, brothers, sisters and who knows how many on the German’s side.”

“Yeah, but they were Nazis, the bad guys.”

“That’s no guarantee they’ll lose.  Good ideology is no armor against better tactics.  We were lucky they kept shifting targets or we’d have lost, no contest.  How many people died and for what?”

“To win the war?”

“To take a town.  A town full of people who didn’t want anything to do with our war.  People who’d just as soon go back to farming and raising crops rather than having a bunch of assholes playing soldier in their fields.  Can you see why I don’t want you to go?”

“Can you see why I have to?  Dad, those farmers in Vietnam don’t have a shot without us.  The French need our help and if we don’t help them, the communists will take over.  If they do, we don’t know who falls next.  We do the work that needs to be done.  For their farmers and ours.”

Marcus remembered taking Jack and hugging him tight then.  He knew he wouldn’t be able to stop his son from joining, any more than his father would have been able to stop him.  Yes, the wars were different and the cause was less clear, but what could the nuance of age do in face of the certainty of youth.  Marcus held on to the hug wishing he wouldn’t have to let go.

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