By Chuck Woodbury
I was talking to my daughter, Emily, the other day about my father, her grandfather. And now, as Memorial Day approaches, I find myself thinking about that conversation again.
Every single one of us should pause once in awhile to ponder how lucky we are to be alive — how lucky that we ever lived at all. What were the odds of our parents ever meeting, marrying, and then conceiving us at just the right time?
Emily and I were talking about how our lives could easily have never happened had my father, a B-24 pilot who flew 35 missions in Europe in World War II, been shot down and killed. Of those thousands of German anti-aircraft gunners, it would have only taken one to have slightly changed the angle of his cannon to have blown up my father’s plane instead of the crews’ a few hundred feet away.
As it turned out, my father came home, met my mother, and enjoyed a good life that lasted until 2008.
The odds of his crew and him surviving their 35 missions were slim: You or I would never in a million years get on a passenger plane if the odds of going down were even 10 percent of what my father and his brave fellow flyers endured.
I think of all my family members that live today (and others who will in the future) because my father survived— his three children, three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and soon, what would have been his first great-great-grandchild.
When I visit a cemetery (which I often do on my RV travels) and come across the grave of a soldier who did not come home, I think about all the children he may have had that never had a chance to live.
War is such a terrible thing. But, sadly, it happens. On this Memorial Day Weekend, I feel both gratitude for those who gave their lives for our country, and sadness for those who were therefore never born to experience the wonderful richness of life.
I can’t help pondering, even celebrating my own life, which would never have happened had my father not survived. If that had happened, what would you be doing right now? This newsletter would never have existed either.
Always much to think about. . .