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Father's service was about patriotism

It's important that there is discussion about how to rightly give lasting honor to military veterans. This is because it could be possible to do it lastingly wrong. That would happen if there is a message that is irrelevant or irreverent to much of the American population.

My own father gave five years of his youth to a world war. Then he managed to return and rebuild an excellent life. I can guarantee that over the following 50 years as I heard his memories of that war, he never mentioned god. To him, the war was about deep patriotism and a fear for his family and for the future of the globe.

He flew beside Yugoslav patriots who were both Orthodox and communist, and called them the best soldiers he knew. And finally, when he could return home, he never thought that a god had chosen him as better than all those who died. In fact, he came home because from across Minnesota and from across the world catholic soldiers, protestant soldiers, Jewish soldiers, Native American soldiers, agnostic soldiers, Sikh soldiers, Gurkha soldiers, Hindu soldiers, Muslim soldiers, soviet communist soldiers and untold others sacrificed personally and deeply to end a historic political evil.

My father did not attend church during the last 50 years of his life because, like most Americans, he could no longer find a god active or present in the world. Yet, he accepted other's faith. He was a typical American. In fact, he was an ideal American. And, when he died some part of him remained the soldier of his memory and his youth. No group and no monument may marginalize old soldiers of different faith or those of no faith at all.

Kent Scheer