Sunday, June 4, 2023

The Soldier

 From Dr. Esolen at Word and Song:

When I was a boy, I saw, every week when we had Sunday dinner with Grandma and Grandpa, a studio photograph of my father’s father in uniform, as a soldier in the American army during World War One. He looked rigid, uncomfortable, but proud. He’d arrived in America from Italy only a few years before. But when my father was small, he told him that if anybody should ever ask him if he was Italian, he was to answer, “I’m an American!” My father didn’t see action in wartime, but he too served his two years as a soldier, attaining the rank of sergeant. I used to have a couple of photographs he took when he was stationed in Europe. He had a few days’ leave, so he and a couple of his buddies took a train from their post in Germany down into the Campagna, in Italy, to the small mountaintop village, Caserta Vecchia, where his parents’ people came from. Those people welcomed him with open arms. That was around 1955. In those days, Italians, especially in the south, were fond of American soldiers, and the soldiers were fond of them too. In 1983, I traveled to that same Caserta Vecchia, where I met my great-uncle Luigi, and my great-aunt Rosina just this side of 100 years old, and a few others who remembered my father’s visit. But I was no soldier. (Read more.)

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