One of the toughest and bravest guys I ever met spent the Battle of the Bulge, WWII, shitting his pants, literally.
He was a 19 year old gunnery sergeant from Chester, NY. The most anti-war person I’ve ever met. He didn’t want to go to war, he wanted to milk cows and play basketball and go on dates with girls in cars.
I always found his story remarkable; here was a guy who really was a hero, who volunteered to go to fight the Nazi’s, then came home to work as a plumber and try to never talk about any of it again.
Someone told me he was awarded some medals. I never saw them. I think he threw them away. He didn’t have to go to war, he had a farm deferment, but he told me it felt wrong to stay home while other kids went to die.
This guy had every right to wave flags and brag and talk down to an obnoxious young hippie in the ’70’s, but he never did.
When we did talk about war, a handful of times in the forty or so years I knew him, Frank spent his time instilling in me the need to examine the motives of our government and others, to truly understand that war was not some bullshit you saw on TV or the movies. War is a crime on an unfathomable scale.
Frank didn’t watch war movies. He tried once to watch Saving Private Ryan, he had to leave the theater. When we talked about that movie he turned pale and shook…I’ll never forget seeing him like that.
People, American kids and German kids were there for reasons they did not understand and many were dying brutal painful deaths. I saw these deaths through his eyes and words.
Frank B. Currier. The bravest, most humble and thoughtful son-of-a-bitch I ever met.
That’s my salute to veterans.