Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Lest We Forget

My 83 year-old uncle died peacefully in his sleep just after midnight last Friday, succumbing indirectly to cancer. A veteran of the 2/6th Cavalry Commando Regiment in WWII, he stands tall in my memory, a big man in every sense with a merry grin that made light of adversity. We'll lay him to rest today with all the familiar rituals and take what comfort we can from them.

"Bomb Happy" was a common term just after WWII. It referred to the state of mind of many returning veterans who, having seen hardship and action aplenty, came home with the happy certainty that nothing in the future would ever seem so bad. The term was never derogatory and I knew several to whom it applied. All of them faced difficulties with the same elan, smiling at some secret memory that shrunk the present dilemma to its true size. I'm not sure I would like to pay the price they paid to reach this state, but I admired them unstintingly.

James Henderson Stacey was such a man.

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