December 16 marked the 68th anniversary of the Germans 1944 Ardennes Offensive, popularly known to Americans as the Battle of the Bulge. Given the tragedy in Connecticut..including the media circus and usual idiocy of the progressive left, it was probably forgotten...well, as most of American history is forgotten by an electorate and citizenry who seem to think following the Kardashians constitutes a mentally rigorous activity.....but I digress.
from Battle of the Bulge
Fortunately for those of us whose brains have not turned into a Storage Wars, Survivor, and Bachelor watching pile of Progressive Liberal mush (free stuff....give me free stuffff), there has been some excellent writing and scholarship on this battle, which has a very personal meaning to me.....
My personal connection is very meaningful (yes, the Grouchy Historian does have feelings). My godfather, Roy Lindemann, was a member of the mythical Greatest Generation, and a young 18 year old paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne in World War II. That's right, at the age that Baby-Boomers were dropping acid and dropping out, and Millennials were whining that their Xboxes weren't working, my godfather was serving his country in the freezing winter of 1944-1945. The funny thing is he NEVER talked about his service, even when I went off to Annapolis and thought for a brief time of becoming a Marine officer. Oh, there was that interesting Christmas during either my plebe or youngster year that I received a box of his old army patches and pins, including a Combat Infantryman Badge that I immediately recognized, but he never said a thing about his service...and I knew enough not to ask, or when I did was brushed off with a couple of non-nondescript sentences about being a company clerk.
This continued until he passed away in 1995 from pancreatic cancer. I was unable to attend his funeral because we were in the middle of a medical crisis with my daughter, but shortly after he died, my mother called and asked if I wanted his medals. Being polite and a historian, I replied, "Sure, that would be great." Little did I know, that my mother, being the bulldog that she is, had petitioned her Congressman, and both Senators from Oklahoma, to have brand-new medals sent to my godmother, and eventually me. I was grateful to receive them and proudly display them in my home today.
Yes, for anyone who pays attention, that is Bronze Star, Purple Heart and three campaign stars on his European Theater of Operations medal, meaning he fought in three separate campaigns. After he died, I remember my parents talking about Roy's drinking and how he was a lifelong alcoholic. I can't help but speculate whether his drinking was tied to his military time, as so many World War II vets lived with undiagnosed and untreated PTSD, including the war's most decorated soldier, Audie Murphy.
So, as the final members of the World War II generation fade away to the mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, let's remember their sacrifice, both on and off the battlefield.
"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' " Matthew 25:21