You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams

Location: Kentucky, United States

Friday, September 06, 2002


Best movie ever; Saving Private Ryan. At the end when Ryan turns to his wife and says, “Tell me I’m a good man”, my life changed. The road that Spielberg had been leading me down ran smack into my own indifference for what my freedom had cost. Now I make myself watch this film once a year around Veterans Day because I want to remember that the man standing in that graveyard is also me. “Earn this”, he said.

This week I met a man who had lost all the digits on his right hand and portions of both ears. He had been a tail gunner on a B-24 bomber in WWII. On their 19th mission to bomb a plane factory in Austria they were shot up pretty badly and limped back to a crash landing in England. His hand had frozen solid to the gun trigger.

I thanked him for telling me his story. He hadn’t volunteered it; I got it a piece at a time while taking a medical history. Then I thanked him for what he went through in that plane sixty years ago. He told me they where just doing what had to be done, and that a thank you was not necessary.

Thank you God that I never had to experience war. When I was a child in the sixties I grew up thinking going to war in Vietnam was a given, but by grace it passed me by. Now I think about the cost of freedom and I worry. I have two sons.

Tell me I’m a good man.


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