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By dovbaer
May 29, 2001

Posts selected for this feature rarely stand alone. They are usually a part of an ongoing thread, and are out of context when presented here. The material should be read in that light. How are these posts selected? Click here to find out and nominate a post yourself!

Editor's Note: Many fine Memorial Day posts graced our discussion boards over the weekend. Here is just one of many Fools explaining what the day means to him:

Thought I'd add my $02.

My dad is a WWII vet as well. He volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corp (which became the Air Force) on Dec 8, 1942, like so many young men did the day after Pearl Harbor. He was 21 years old.

He was commissioned as a Lieutenant and served for 3 1/2 years in the Pacific as a navigator and co-pilot. Went on many bombing runs and saw more action than he cared for. Made it home though, on good old American Pratt & Whitney engines.

Every vet has their own story. My dad's has to do with the fact that he is a Jew. His father and mother came over from Ukraine and Poland around 1907, fleeing revolution and instability. Dad was born in New York City in 1920. After the Nazis came to power in 1932, things quickly turned bad for Jews all over the world.

Besides the brutalities of the Nazi regime that we read about in books or see in film clips, the Nazis embarked on a worldwide propaganda campaign spewing the most vicious and disgusting hatred and defamations about Jews. They used their considerable power and influence to spread this stuff through sympathetic media outlets all over the world, including the U.S. Anti-Semitism reached a hallucinatory frenzy in Germany and it reverberated throughout the world, even here.

Yet, through all that, the United States welcomed Jews and others who were despised and although life was not easy in those days, there has never been a country in the world, in all of world history really, that welcomed the Jews the way the U.S. did.

My father and other Jewish American young men were proud to wear the uniforms of the U.S. military. You can't underestimate the tremendous boost to Jewish morale to be accepted into the armed forces, to make common cause against the criminals in Berlin. My people felt like victims, but in the U.S. it was different. Here we were allowed to become warriors, fighters for morality and decency.

Trust me when I tell you that Jewish American WWII vets love this country and all it stands for with a passion. While the rest of the world looked away, American boys like my father helped to save the future.

In early 1942, my dad and mom got married and had ten days together before he was shipped out, and he wasn't back until August of 1945. I have copies of the wedding photos, and there is my old man, 22 years old, in his Air Corps uniform, with all the Jewish grandmothers and grandfathers looking at him so proudly. Imagine, a young man picking up a rifle to go fight the Nazis! (Although he fought the Japanese.)

My parents are still alive today and in good health, living in Ft. Lauderdale (where else?). He celebrated his 80th birthday a few months ago.

All the best Dad, I will never forget you and what you and so many others did for our country. I'm proud to be your son, living in this country that you made safe for me and my children.

God Bless America.

Dov Baer