Writer thankful for letter from veteran
David Knighton’s letter “Fireworks serve as reminder of war to some vets” on July 4 hit home with me. He suggested that as we celebrate our independence, we should remember that for some of our countrymen, the explosions of fireworks catapult them back to times “indelibly etched into their memories.”
I read his letter after describing to a friend how our family enjoyed Fourth of July fireworks in our northwestern Pennsylvania hometown. Townsfolk gathered in the countryside, spread blankets or parked cars around a big meadow. My father would lift me and my two sisters onto our car, and we lay back on the warm hood to watch the stars and fireworks light up the sky.
Until Mr. Knighton’s letter, it never occurred to me that my father, an Army veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and helped liberate Dachau, might not have experienced those fireworks as we children did. He never talked about the war, except to tell funny stories about drill sergeants and C-rations. If pressed to tell war stories, he declined, trembling and sweating.
When he was 43 years old, my father died. I never had the chance to thank him for his willingness to serve and for his sacrifice in the war.
Thank you, Mr. Knighton, for reminding us that we still have warriors fighting in foreign lands and that we live among warriors who made it home, either recently or long ago. I will never see fireworks in quite the same way again.