Veterans Day is time to listen carefully to understand wars
Dear Shirley, They say that to understand an era, one must listen carefully to the voices of the people who viewed the epoch and see the landscape through their eyes. Well, I have just been rereading a transcript of what our brother, Harley, told...
They say that to understand an era, one must listen carefully to the voices of the people who viewed the epoch and see the landscape through their eyes.
Well, I have just been rereading a transcript of what our brother, Harley, told a researcher before he died. Harley was with the Hell's Angels flying over Europe during World War 11. He was a B17 bombardier. He was on planes that had some close calls dropping bombs. He went on 31 missions from England over Europe during 1944 and 1945.
We both were there four years ago when he was buried in the military cemetery at Sturgis, S.D.
What I am wondering on this Veterans Day, Shirley, is why we didn't ask him more about World War II. When he and Walt came home, they picked up on their lives and moved on. I don't remember them talking much about the war. Nor did Harley talk about his time in Korea and Vietnam.
Still, he told everything to a researcher from Arizona State 10 years ago. Today, I'm thinking how wise it is for Curt Hanson at the UND Chester Fritz Library to be seeking out military history. Hanson heads up the Department of Special Collections. He spoke last week as part of the "Big Read" in our community on the topic "Telling Your Story."
On Veterans Day in Grand Forks, I think of the late Elmer Lian, who was a prisoner of war in Germany when after his plane was shot down. Lian not only told his story, but encouraged others in our area to do the same. Because of the documents and interviews, we have a better understanding of that era.
I am sure you are having ceremonies today in Tucson, just as we are here in Grand Forks. There will be a program at 1 p.m. and a free lunch for veterans at the County Office Building. School's out today, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to take some of the students down there to hear the message of Nov. 11. I like the fact that Barb Schauer will play "Taps." And I think it's great that Applebee's is treating the veterans to meals today.
Dot Com, the dachshund, has been taking me out for walks the past few days. The weather has been balmy for November in North Dakota, but it is beginning to close in now. I might have to restrict my walking to the shopping malls and leave the dog to fend for herself in the backyard. On our walks, I have seen wise people putting up their Christmas decorations. It's not a jolly ho-ho task when it's cold and icy. The park district has the greens covered on Lincoln golf course, and the people over at Chestnut Street and 15th Avenue South have their neighborhood ice hockey rink all set up and ready. All they need is the big freeze.
People are pretty much ready for winter, and those who can are leaving for warm places in your state of Arizona, as well as Texas and Florida. Some go to California. Except for some holiday travel, I am hunkering down to another winter in North Dakota.
I tell myself I will be braver and stronger for it.
Love from your sister, Marilyn, wondering how long it will take for the English Coulee to freeze.
P.S.: The coulee weaves its way through Grand Forks, except that it mostly stands still. There is no flow to it.
P.P.S.: They were singing "Let Us Gather to Pray at the River" in church Sunday. I love that hymn. When they hit the third verse, I noticed Phillip the fly was crawling around in the aisle. Here I thought I was through with the likes of Phillip until May.
Reach Hagerty at firstname.lastname@example.org or (701) 772-1055.