Employee No. 2055, above, is my mother. If she were still with us, she would have turned 101 last week. Instead, she went to her reward at 91.
But during World War II, when she was in her twenties, she cranked out Garand rifle clips and 50-caliber machine gun links for the cause every day at The Stanley Works in New Britain. Off the clock, she contributed to The Stanley World, the company’s monthly magazine, corresponding with Stanley employees serving in the armed forces overseas, and writing patriotic poems, such as this one:
All for One and One for All
Let’s make some resolutions
For nineteen forty-three,
To give the very best in us
And keep our homeland free.
To keep ’em flying, “over there,”
And rolling right along,
To rid the world of all warfare
And help to right the wrong.
To write to all our boys each day,
On land or on the sea,
And let them know, in that small way,
We’re “out for victory!”
Of stamps and bonds let’s buy our share
And thus, if these be done,
We’ll end the Japa-Nazi pair
In this war they’ve begun.
-- Angie Richter
OK, she was no Robert Frost. Then again, she had to leave school in the eighth grade to help support her family during the Depression. And I’d give her an “A” for both spirit and spelling. She also wrote a song for the Stanley Stagers — “We Are the Soldiers of Production” — that was part of a win-the-war show they put on.
But still, Mom didn’t rate a military parade. That’d be way too much, as I’m sure she’d agree.
Better to honor the millions who have served this country, in both war and peace. Better to honor the estimated 1,354,664 dead (combat and non-combat) from all our wars, and the estimated 1,498,240 wounded. Better to do something for the legions of veterans who still suffer from wounds, both physical and mental, that they suffered in the armed services.
And yet, some guy in Washington seems to think he deserves such a parade, a big military parade, with tanks and jets and marching troops, even though he got four draft deferments during the Vietnam War and then a 1-Y classification for bone spurs — despite having played football, tennis and squash in college.
“I want a parade like the one in France,” this guy said, according to the Washington Post. (Last year he saw a grand Bastille Day procession in Paris, and he clearly liked it.)
Sure, we do military parades in this country, but they aren’t usually so grand. Every time a foreign leader comes to the White House, those fife-and-drum guys march back and forth across the lawn wearing wigs. But we seldom stage huge extravaganzas of firepower like those the Russians put on every year for Victory Day, or the North Koreans, with laser-straight lines of robotically marching troops.
For now, the Pentagon is working on it. But the Marine Corps Times took a survey. More than 51,000 readers responded, and 89 percent of them said, “No, It’s a waste of money and troops are too busy.”
Reach Glenn Richter at firstname.lastname@example.org.