“Omi” is German for grandmother. Ranger Man has some German blood – part German, part American mutt, part who knows what. When I wrote my Shelter Lullaby post, I was reminded of a story my Omi (R.I.P.) told me many years ago. A few tears dropped down her face one Christmas Eve and I asked what was wrong.
She said every Christmas Eve she recalls one particular Christmas Eve as a child living in Germany during WWII. The town had been virtually evacuated due to bombing raids. Many citizens, my grandmother and her family included, went up into the hills for safety. She sat on that hill on Christmas Eve, as a child, at night, watching planes drop bombs on her hometown.
She told me of how they left some food outside, in a rhubarb patch, for Jews. She saw Jewish grave markers get plowed over. She cried. Her family was far from Nazi sympathizers, but they also had no love for Americans, who, as she put it, “fired on everything and everyone.”
Of course, that’s how wars were fought then, not that long ago. There were no precision guided missiles that you could aim down a building’s chimney. There were no unmanned predator drones. It was dudes in planes flying over cities and letting gravity guide the bombs. Carpet bombing was a method frequently employed. Future wars could find these methods employed once again should it be a prolonged, heavy exchange. The U.S. inventory of precision guided bombs dwindled quickly after the first few months of Desert Storm. The U.S. had to ramp up production to replenish stocks. Imagine if we found ourselves in a prolonged exchange with an adversary that could retaliate better than Saddam. Less than accurate ordinance would be employed – on both sides.
Needless to say, when my grandmother fell in love with an American soldier (and married him) this caused great strife between her and her brother, for it was years before that, during WWII, when she and her brother were just children, that they were riding in the back of a flatbed truck and an American plane opened up on them, hitting her brother in the leg. He lived, but carried a cane the rest of his days.
Time passed and wounds healed, but she still cried every Christmas Eve.
– Ranger Man
BTW: On a lighter note, today is the day: