C. Douglas Caffey
SAYING GOODBYE TO AMERICA: Part 2
The word “America” rings down the corridors of history for four centuries. It was a holy word when Jamestown was just an infant. Through that first cold winter when Puritans laid their loved ones to rest, America took on a new and hallowed meaning, for America became a repository for brave and courageous men and women who sailed the stormy Atlantic to find a home for Freedom and Sweet Liberty. Those brave folks signed the Mayflower Compact before their feet ever touched the sacred soil, thus forming a government by which they intended to live… and live they did within the confines of surrender and dependence upon Almighty God.
Freedom’s seed was planted deeply in the virgin soil of a special place called America.
Freedom is never free, for Freedom must be defended by those who count death as a worthy payment on Freedom’s account.
Red runs the blood of those, living and dead, through the years when America was coming of age. The dark splotch remains still when North and South chose to do battle over States Rights and slavery. Thousands laid down their lives in a foolish war, not ordained of God! But old wounds heal and Freedom bows her head in a shameful manner, awaiting a better season.
When a Representative Republic was challenged, American men rose to the occasion to deliver independence to the lap of Freedom.
World War One invoked thousands to keep Freedom in our court. Red runs the blood of stalwart men who chose to die rather than to live outside the boundary of Freedom.
There was another war known as World War II, of which the writer was a part. This takes us back to the beginning of this writing, when, as never before, America was thrust into a world-wide conflict, again to be tested for the singular love of Freedom. We stood that test, but an awful price was exacted as young men became warriors all over the globe, from Europe to Asia, and all the Islands of the seas. Over four-hundred thousand men and women gave their lives for a cause that was greater than life itself.
Lee Greenwood and John Wayne have said it well, for they are patriotic sons of America, who have touched the hearts of old WWII veterans, making known to all that it is the soldier, the sailor, the Marine, and the airman, who have given Freedom to America!
From the air-war over Germany came thousands of B-17’s, B-24’s, B-25’s, B-26’s as well as the simple C-47’s and C-46’s which carried thousands of Para Troopers to their deaths in France and Germany; Para Troopers of the 82nd Air Borne and the 101st.
The C-47 Gooney Bird towed two gliders filled with men and machines of war, to the fields in France and Germany, where many died where they landed.
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the beaches of Utah and Omaha were scattered by fallen soldiers and Marines who mixed their red blood with the salty brine of the Atlantic Ocean. Thousands lie today in the soil of France with only a white cross to mark their presence. Like many others in Europe and the Pacific, they aren’t home yet.
Many were the battles for the Islands of the Pacific, islands which American men could not pronounce! Some of those islands were the Philippines, Corregidor, and Bataan – where 5,000 Americans died on that 60 mile march, which began on April 10, 1942. Others were the Solomon Islands, the Gilbert Islands, Tarawa, Bougainville, Kwajalein, in the Marshall Islands where this veteran saw thousands of bones buried in the sands from the surface to a depth of ten feet. Eniwetok of the Marshalls, Wake Is. of New Guinea on May 17, 1944. Then there was Saipan and Tinian in the Mariana Islands. It was from Tinian, North Field that the Enola Gay left to drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, piloted by my friend and hero of the 509th Bomb Group.
There was also Peleliu Island, and, of course Iwo Jima, and Okinawa as well as islands without a name.
On all these islands and others not named, many American boys died before they became men.
Left strewn across the sands of islands they could not pronounce, were their blood and bones. Sailors lost their ships and vanished in to the depths of the sea. In the case of The USS INDIANAPOLIS after she had delivered the trigger mechanism for the atomic bomb, at Tinian, she continues her voyage west when she was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sank in just fourteen minutes with 1098 officers and men aboard.
Some 800 men were eaten by sharks, leaving only 300 officers and men to be rescued. It was for America that they died at sea. This veteran will forever remember those brave men who paid the supreme sacrifice for Freedom!
The Marines at Iwo Jima fought, bled, and died for that Freedom which we cherish today. Seven thousand young Marines died there, and thirteen hundred spilled their blood, in those black sands, yet lived to return to the America for which they so valiantly fought.
Because they took Iwo Jima, hundreds of B-29’s, with thousands of their crews, were able to land their crippled B-29’s after bombing Japan. The B-29’s could be repaired to fly and fight again, flying some 3,000 miles round trip.
For all of these reasons, in part one, and part two, and for pains which lie deep within the hearts of old WWII veterans, the writer wishes to thank America before his transformation to that ‘other world’ where war is not known, and where Old veterans can finally lie down in peace.
So, Goodbye America: I am proud to be one of your sons and pray that Freedom shall always be alive in this great land! If I could sing like Lee Greenwood I would gladly give signature to my departure with such singing, but, alas, this old veteran
cannot even read music!
Thanks America from the bottom of my heart!
©Copyright May 8, 2008 by C. Douglas Caffey
Author’s Note: This part was written from the waiting room of Dr. Gary Herron, DDS., while he was engaged in dental work on my wife. His office is in the high desert city of Albuquerque. He is a former major in the Army as a dentist. Tremendous dentist with a super personality!