My West Point Dad PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Capt Bob   
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 21:17

My West Point Dad

 

When I was very young, I heard about my uncle’s heroic service in World War II in the U.S. Army Air Corps flying as a tail gunner on over 100 bomber missions over Nazi occupied territory. I was 2 and one half years old when World War II ended. My first conscious memory was people on the side of the road yelling, “The war is over, the war is over”, as I rode in the back seat of my mother’s car.

When I was a little older, I was interested in our recent history. My Dad was born in 1897. He attended West Point during World War I (too old for World War II). He was a real history buff. I decided to ask him my questions about our wars.

“Dad, why are we fighting wars in other nations?” “Bobby”, he said, if an enemy has attacked us or decided to fight us, it’s better to fight on their territory than ours. That way their country gets torn up instead of ours.”

“But, Dad”, I said, why do we still have bases in Germany, Japan, Italy and South Korea if the war is over?” He told me, “These are not occupying forces. These bases are there for stability to make sure we do not have to fight another war involving these nations. These bases are not there only for military purposes. The presence of our bases with our citizens helps to build friendly relationships with these nations in many areas.”

I still was not satisfied. “But, Dad, how can we avoid these wars, just mind our own business and spend the money on ourselves?” He replied, “It would be great if we could do that, but as General Eisenhower explained to us, peace through strength is the best way to try to avoid new wars. We need to be strong enough so others will be afraid to attack us. We need to avoid the mistake we made after the First World War of cutting our military strength drastically, attempting to isolate our nation from what was happening in the rest of the world, and as a result getting into another bigger and more destructive world war the second time from December, 1941 until August, 1945.”

I was not going to give up. I wanted my Dad’s insight through his answers, but I also wanted to find at least one question he could not answer, that maybe I could eventually answer. “Dad, what would happen if our army was fighting in another part of the world, and while they were gone, we were invaded here at home?” My Dad was becoming somewhat impatient with my probing questions as he responded, “Son, that’s one of the reasons we have the Second Amendment, not just as part of our personal freedom and for our self-protection in our daily lives, but to help defend our nation if necessary. However, the national defense role in the Second Amendment does not work unless citizens have the current military type weapons and their own supply of ammunition so they can respond quickly without waiting for guns, ammunition and basic firearms training to be provided.”

I thought they must teach the cadets at West Point just about everything. I decided not to ask my Dad anymore questions until the next time I could talk to him. That would give me more time to think of other questions, maybe even a question he could not answer.

 

Capt. Bob Bell

U.S. Navy Retired                                    To be continued.

 

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