It was the Day Of Days:
If you are lucky, very lucky, on that day, you will walk all the way to Germany and the war will be over and you will go home to a town somewhere on the great land sea of the Midwest and you won’t talk much about this day, or any that came after it, ever. They’ll ask you, throughout long decades after, “What did you do in the war?” You’ll think of this day and you will never think of a good answer. That’s because you know just how lucky you were.
My best friend Rick's dad was one of the men who walked from Normandy to Germany. He never spoke of those days to us, not until the 1990s when he was old. I asked him why - since he knew that we would have loved those stories - he hadn't said anything. He said that he was busy getting on with his life. It wasn't much of an answer, but maybe there wasn't a good answer.If you were not lucky on that day you lie under a white cross on a large lawn 73 long gone years later.
Then I asked him why he was telling us now. He said so that people would know about his buddies when he was gone. His buddies who weren't lucky like he had been. The ones under those white crosses.
He was a kind, funny, gentle soul. And a warrior once. Rest in peace, Jake. I hope you have a final muster with your buddies.