That was the headline of one of my Dad's articles that he wrote for his local paper.
I'm thinking that headline and his article should be required reading for some people today.
The article I speak of was written a while back. Actually, it was one of the first articles he wrote after returning home from doing his part in promoting world peace in the South Pacific during WW ll.
The date was November 23rd, 1945.
I read this article and smiled, because I could just tell he was fed up. Fed up with the questions every GI heard upon returning home.
Here is a sampling of what he wrote.
How does it feel to be back in civvies? Glad to be out huh? Did you get over?
He writes that these questions are asked to returning GI's 100 times. He says,
There is only one answer to the first question. "Good!" The variation is "swell!"
Guess your glad to be out huh? That question he must have heard a lot because he writes,
If the person asking the question had been clothed in baggy khaki for 4 or 5 years, had gone weeks or months without mail, and had eaten canned rations for weeks at a time, well, he'd be kinda "glad to be out huh?"
Asking the veteran "Did you get over?" when he has just returned after almost forgetting what the United States looked like is a sure way to gain his lasting enmity.
This one last example from Dad's article and I'll stop plagiarizing, I promise.
He writes about the frequent question, "Did you see action?"
The bloodthirsty set will ask, "Did you see any action over there?" That is, they'll ask after they have learned that you had "been over there." The real veteran will shy away from this question like a fly from fire.. If the veteran is just a half veteran, the person asking the question has doomed himself to at least one half hours roll call of the battles from Normandy to Berlin.
From the healthy doses of sarcasm evident, I would say he was probably just really tired of hearing those same questions over and over every day. I don't think his feelings changed with time, because he was never one to sit down and "talk about the war." My Uncle, who served in Europe and was very close to my Dad said once, "He just never liked to talk about the war."
After I read this article today, my first thought was, "Thank God." Thank God I didn't bombard my son in law upon his return from Afghanistan with a barrage of questions like that. Lets just say I know from my daughter that Jim's time serving in that angry mountainous far away land was not pretty. The last thing he probably wants to do is give me a play by play of his experiences. As much as I wanted to ask, I didn't. Maybe my Dad was looking down on me and saying, "Don't even think about it."
Maybe at the cookout for my not even thought of grandchild's High School graduation, we'll talk. But now isn't the time.
I was surprised with this old article of my Dad's from a Facebook friend who is very active on a FB page about the town I grew up in. Many people have joined and are contributing with old pictures and stories. John Coleman found a few articles of my Dad's and sent them to me. I have never seen the one I mentioned above, before. Thanks John.