Tonight Marty and I had the opportunity to treat for dinner for a couple – who happen to be Jewish friends in our building – who are among the last of the Greatest Generation.
Sheldon – now 90 years young – went into the Army Heavy Weapons group in 1941. He went into the beaches of Normandy just after the massive sacrifice. At that time “heavy weapons” were considered Mortars. Today an American soldier carries the same firepower in a specially designed AR 15.
From there his Division went chasing the Germans through France, Holland, Alsace and then Germany. In addition to his combat he also was hospitalized for jaundice. After all that when the “peace” was declared he was sent to Czechoslovakia to defend the lines against the Russians. As an aside have the Russians changed much in seventy years?
I looked at him directly and asked him how in the world did he manage to survive emotionally – knowing he was in for the duration. I said Sheldon how did you handle the pressure of knowing the only way you were going home was a life threatening injury, death and or peace. He said simply – we were too busy surviving from day to day to think about the long term.
I was literally taken back with his modesty when he said to me Larry I have seen your Medals and you are a real hero.
His willingness to fight – his victorious attitude about living through the “duration” – his humility about his sacrifice and service are among the things that classify Sheldon and his wife Annette as being among the last of the “Greatest Generation.” May God Bless all of them that remain to this day!