Without Exception

Hi everybody. It’s Sunday, April 28th, 2024.  And I’m thinking back. Amidst a war, united we managed to carry on. It’s a cherished highlight that I have …

 Thinking about it

without exception

The world turned

Some knew it would

What was it to be called

This time, lives touched

Together we sought distance

Between good and bad

Evil too much to contain

They must all be destroyed

For our families like ours

pulled apart

Left were those marching forward

All hearts bearing pain

And then there were the others

They the scum of the earth enemies

Void of definition nor meaning

Enemies moving upon us

With unbridled hate

Prospered by unaltered disdain

Place: Brooklyn, New York 1943 Two years into WW2

Well back then, our country had a combined population, men, women, children of 133 million. Sixteen million men and women served in our combined military services. Think about it for a moment. Half the population of our country had stepped forward into the most distinguishable fray the entire world took part in. One way or another.

I was ten years old, during an era for whatever the reason, there existed in our household an nonexpendable degree of joy. “Keep them laughing”, was my parents’ determinant ploy. In our family it wasn’t an uncommon event for the four of us to find ways to do something to make our little world a more happier place to be. I had spent the day with my father at the factory. At home that night after completing dinner my father announced for my mother and sisters to hear how proud of me he was that day at work. He wasn’t joking around. My dad’s business partner at the time was a man who was about twenty years older than him. His name was Max Kaplan. An earlier in life event left him unable to move around very well. My dad was absolutely boasting how I had helped Mr. Kaplan, with an untied shoelace. Dad went on to say how he watched and listened to me and explain with great surety: “Please let me help you with that untied shoe, Mr. Kaplan. It’s the same way my dad showed me how to lace up my baseball shoes.” Mr. Kaplan thanked me, and then shook my hand. I may have been ten years old, but I felt like a man. Even my older sister felt my pride.

The next day we were all back there again, feeling the reality of the world at home. And yes, even for all the others in places, this ten year old boy had never heard of before.

But what registered for me that day was the most heavily, and remains a pride reference about almost all my neighbors, my friends, and each and every one of my relatives. All of us, without exception, loved the United States of America!

And all of us privileged folks, each and every day continue to do what has made us the greatest country in the world. I’ll raise my glass and salute you all tonight.

God Bless America

By Harvey Kalmenson

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