Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, August 14, 2009

VJ Day and Death Panels

One of the astonishments of old age is finding that something significant happened to you on this day 64 years ago, as the calendar marks the anniversary of victory over Japan in World War II.

In this August of our discontent, it's jolting to remember how close and united Americans were back then. As one of those foot soldiers who had fought through Europe, all we knew then was that mushroom clouds over Japan earlier that month had ended our dread of going to the Pacific to storm beaches and face mass death again in foreign cities.

For the first time in years, we could wake in the morning without feeling there was an IOU out on our lives, held by someone unknown and payable on demand.

That sense of relief comes flooding back while reading the news about the debate over "death panels" for members of my generation by politicians and public, most of whom have never known how it feels to really have their lives on the line every day.

There are relatively few of us still alive who remember what it was like back then to be young and find ourselves suddenly relieved of the need to die for our country.

As one of them, I can't overstate my disgust to find, more than six decades later, Americans now feigning concern for my generation to score cheap political points. Such rhetoric is an insult to those of us who survived and, even worse, to those who didn't.


Anonymous said...

I have to believe Frank Lutz helped birth the "Death Panels" term, same as the "Death Tax." We need a tax on lies and stupidity.

Would hospice be considered a "death panel?"

By the way, thanks for your service, both as a soldier and as a civilian.

Holte Ender said...

These days only the the military and their friends and family know the stresses and strains of being in war zones. The vast majority of the American people, bitch and moan about health care and the economy and the main stream media plays a big part in that.

deth said...

Hear hear! I couldn't have said it better myself. I am much too young to remember VJ day first hand, but it has been marked here in this household.

Thank you, sir, for your service.

It is astonishing how fractious, divided and cynical we have become. It would be admirable if it was *for* something! This whole debate is over a misinterpreted/misleading view of one provision of the bill.

I believe this photo frames it very well: