C. Douglas Caffey
ALMOST MEMORIAL DAY AGAIN
At 1:51 a.m. I sit at my desk but my mind takes me back to days of youth where the “hills of yesterday” seemed so tall. We climbed those hills just to see the scenery on the other side, and having seen that which lies beyond, we stood in awe trying to take in all before us. Our small minds and young memories filed away all that we had seen, leaving us to wonder what the rest of the world held in store. Thoughts arose that one day, yet to come, we’d venture beyond the “hills of yesterday.” What glory that would be to visit that other world, to sail the seas, climb the mountains, inhale the freshness of the verdant forests, and, in general, become a part of such a scene.
We dreamed of ships and trains, and planes which would take us to the ends of the Earth. These dreams were tucked away in the memory banks of our youth, to be drawn upon when we moved from boy to man. The day did come when ships and trains and planes transported us to a world at war. We did see some mountains of ocean waves and mountains of heights far exceeding those “hills of yesterday”. From the altitudes of thirty-thousand feet, or more, we viewed, as it were, the “fifty-yard” seats of a world gone mad, where man shouldered his rifle to kill or be killed. From the seas, drenched with foam, the big guns roared, sixteen inch guns, and twenty-one inch guns, and lesser ones, all aimed at blasting the enemy, hopefully before he fixed his sights on you. From the hundreds of four-engine planes, were loosed the “children of destruction”, mighty bombs that set fire to entire cities, creating fire storms which consumed everything in sight… cities like Hamburg and Dresden, and Tokyo and lesser cities of the Japanese Isle.
Then there were two special B-29’s which, over Japan, loosed the mother of all bombs… leveling entire cities with a sound the world had never heard before. A sound so loud that the demons of Hell must have trembled, seeking refuge in some darkened cave.
Finally, the “game” was over; the dead buried, the cities lay desolate, wives and mothers and sisters cried for their husbands, sons, and brothers who never returned to take another look at those “hills of yesterday”, whose memories still remained! Strange how those hills of our youth seemed so high yesterday, but returning from our visage of that other world, of which we once dreamed, those same hills are but mounds in our memories!
Now, we have memories from which we cannot free ourselves. We still see dead friends, sunken ships, crashed bombers and fighters, we can smell the cordite of wars half a world away, and we long to, again, climb the simple “hills of yesterday”. “Home” is a beautiful four-letter word! So is the word “hill”!
C. Douglas Caffey, 100% service-connected disabled vet of World War II, who cannot even climb a single hill of “yesterday”. However, the memory of all those hills is still alive.
©Copyright May 19, 2006 by C. Douglas Caffey