Memorial Day personal
Today is a public holiday in America and in Britain. Since early morning people have been decorating the graves in Calvary Cemetery with flowers. They were still there when I drove back from visiting my friend Nadine. She is dying, bravely. I told her what her friendship meant to me, and because she always loved stories of bravery, and was always patriotic, I told her this story. It was part of Pete Collier's great Memorial Day piece in the Wall Street Journal,
"Big for his age at 14, Jack Lucas begged his mother to help him enlist after Pearl Harbor. She collaborated in lying about his age in return for his promise to someday finish school. After training at Parris Island, he was sent to Honolulu. When his unit boarded a troop ship for Iwo Jima, Mr. Lucas was ordered to remain behind for guard duty. He stowed away to be with his friends and, discovered two days out at sea, convinced his commanding officer to put him in a combat unit rather than the brig. He had just turned 17 when he hit the beach, and a day later he was fighting in a Japanese trench when he saw two grenades land near his comrades.
He threw himself onto the grenades and absorbed the explosion. Later a medic, assuming he was dead, was about to take his dog tag when he saw Mr. Lucas's finger twitch. After months of treatment and recovery, he returned to school as he'd promised his mother, a ninth-grader wearing a Medal of Honor around his neck."
Really, it's a story about love.