He was part of that generation – that special generation of men who went away to war. The big war. Not that any war is a small one. I’m sure those in Libya aren’t measuring their particular hell against any other conflagration.
Uncle Bliss had a horrible time of the war; was captured and imprisoned in a POW camp as was his dad. Bliss made it out, his dad never did. He was such a gentle man, so kind, so loving to his family and to ours.
The men of that era were, and are, something special. I’ve been honoured to know many of them, since they were my uncles, my father. They were the men who got down to things. They worked, hard, all their lives. They struggled to provide for families during times of hardship, but most of them did so without murmur, without expectations. They were gentlemen, caring for their own and for the communities they lived in, often members of groups like Kiwanis or Knights of Columbus or Rotary or whatever, spending a goodly lot of their time giving back. Grateful for the life they got back after the war. Understanding of the privilege they had been given to see hell and then return from it.
It strikes me that many of them learned to be good men through the war, not that I’d recommend such a baptism. The men I knew, so many of them gone now, understood what is required to be a good citizen. They voted. They were informed. They participated. They laughed outrageously and played with their kids and thought their wives were beautiful. I still remember watching my mother and father waltz at a public dance in the Seattle World’s Fair grounds – light on their feet, graceful and gracious. Ballroom dancing is so much about planning not to bump into another, about being close in an appropriate public way. These men knew about this in daily life. They made the world work while not trying to draw attention to themselves – they knew that service above all was the thing.
Oh, how I miss those gentlemen. The world is poorer without them.
Sending my sympathies to my cousins in New Brunswick for their loss….