The genesis of this essay comes from WWII, my dad, and my family. In my two previous essays, I addressed the end of WWII in the Pacific and Tokyo Rose. Both articles address George Santayana’s warning, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
I wish that I had asked my father about the war. The only thing I recall him mentioning was being on Saipan when a Japanese Zero strafed the air while he was in the airfield’s observation tower. In that essay, I wish that I had asked or that he had told me about my mother packing me up and taking a Greyhound Bus from Philadelphia, PA, to El Paso, TX. I couldn’t have been more than three months old, but my parents wanted to see each other, and my father wanted to see me. That could have been the first and last time the three of us were together. It was an incredibly bittersweet time together, knowing he could have been killed as the army was island-hopping across the Pacific.
I truly missed all his thoughts about the war except for telling me about the Japanese strafing the airfield. The only comment he always used, which I assumed dated back to the war, was “Come hell or high water.” It was a comment about his drive in life.
I picked up his saying, and it became one of my mantras. So, that saying is a backstory to this article. While that one-liner isn’t a poetic use of a handful of words, it does reveal my Weltanschauung. I hate obstacles. Nonetheless, they are determinative in my life.
Alter your direction but keep your eye on the prize. My dreams will be realized. Nevertheless, we should all dream dreams in our lives. It is a teaching moment for those around us.
Gilgamesh realized that immortality wasn’t possible. He came up with a great one-liner. “Forget death and seek life.” Living forever is impossible. Instead, he provided an example for us. He spent the remainder of his life doing good and noble things.
In my twilight years, I created a one-liner. “It is in giving that we get.” As with Gilgamesh, we will achieve immortality among our loved ones. They will remember you have assisted them on their journey down their yellow brick roads as they help others on theirs.