"SAYING GOODBYE TO AMERICA"
By C. Douglas Caffey, a disabled WWII veteran,having served
int the 509th Composite Bomb Group 58th Wing.
Air Photo Unit, 20th AF
Army Air Corps
Today's date is May 8, 2008, which is also the anniversary of VE-Day, 1945.
The writer is almost 82 years old, having PTSD since WWII. The time has
come to say farewell to a nation that is loved, and therefore, to address
that nation which gave this veteran birth and also gave to him the
ideals of Freedom, and has succored him for these eight
America has been seen from many points of view, most of which have been
loved. America, your arms have been wide enough to embrace both
young and old, the lovers of yesterday, and lovers of today,
husbands and wives, both children and sage as your own.
This veteran knows not when his time will be up, but one
thing he does know and that he has less time now
than he had yesterday, and if tomorrow comes
he will have even less time.
Before he goes, he wishes to say goodbye to the America which he has
loved, and for whom he has fought and for whom he has given of his
health in preserving Freedom and Sweet Liberty. This veteran has
seen the Stars and Stripes flying from Battle Ships, from Air craft
carriers, from a hospital ship, from government buildings, and
from simple homes of the many who love America as he
does. He has flown the Stars and Stripes from his own
home, but must confess in this present age that
walking to the back yard to attach Old Glory
to its flag pole is so painful that there
are days when the Flag must fly
in the imagination of an
old man's mind!
So, he sees the Flag of the United States of America flying in the
New Mexico breeze where all who pass by will know that
there ia a veteran who loves the Flag as he loves the
Land of Freedom from which she flies.
The sounds and sights of America inhabit the memories from
the time this veteran was just a bare-foot boy playing
in the sun with his dog, until that fateful day on a
cold December morn of 1941, when hundreds
of planes from an enemy swarmed from
the Rising Sun to wreck havoc on a
place in the Pacific Sea, known
as Pearl Harbor!
Thousands gave their lives for the cause of Freedom on that
day long ago. Some still sleep in those cold waters, who
never again will walk those decks where the Flag of
America once flew, in America's grand hour.
Those of us who played in the sun with our
dogs, and our toys, when we were boys,
learned to shorten our time of play
and to don a uniform of blue or
brown to become soldiers,
sailors, Marines, and airmen
to answer the call of America for the
preservation of Sweet Freedom.
To the ends of the Earth we went, sailing warships and
merchant ships, submarines, and flying machines
of all shapes and size, to dot the horizon of the
skies, to avenge the Freedoms which we
loved. We saluted the Flag with heart-felt meaning,
as did those brave Marines one war-torn day on
the island of Iwo Jima, who raised the Flag
on Mount Surabachi. It was on Iwo Jima
that seven thousand marines bled to death on those
black sands, their red American blood mixing with those
black sands as a token of the supreme sacrifice
which can be offered only once.
We dare not forget their patriotism, nor the patriotism of
four-hundred thousand others who die for American
Yet, on Iwo Jima there were thirteen thousand other
Marines who bled in those black sands but won
the battle over death.
Have you thought what it is like to die all alone
in some fox-hole with no one to hear one's
dying wishes to loved ones, and no one
to hold the hand of a dying Marine,
or to give him comfort in that
Surely there were thoughts of sweethearts, or
wives with babies the dying Marine had never seen.
But one's dying farewell had to be etched with a keen
sense of the commodity known as Freedom.
Would you die for Freedom? Looking back on those days
of some sixty years ago, it would have been easier
to die for Freedom and Sweet Liberty, than to
have survived to fight the battles every night,
over and over again, when the "Mares of
the Night" know and visit your address.
The good aspect of death is, 'it
doesn't take long to die!'
Dear Reader, have you noticed that certain words
are so sacred to this veteran, that they are
always capitalized. Freedom is one of those words
which is so loved. It is one way of paying homage to the
Freedom which all Americans should love.
For this writer, when the word Marine is penned, it is always
with a capital "M".
The writer was not a Marine; just an airman of the famous 509th
Composite Bomb Group, which dropped the two atomic bombs on
Japan in August of 1945, compliments of the Old Army Air
Corps! However, the Marines took the Island of Iwo Jima at great
cost to have a place where cripppled B-29's returning from bombing
raids on Japan, could have a place to land, thus saving the
lives of thousands of airmen, and hundreds of B-29's
which could be repaired and to fly other missions on the enemy,
thus keeping , perhaps, millions of deaths from happening
if Japan was to be invaded on the ground.
Those B-29's returned to Saipan and to Tinian and flew again, and again,
to soften the will of the enemy.
Parenthtical: This veteran is glad that the enemy is now a friend.
We can mix our tears in the same bottle!