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We have a common bond


To the Editor:

Ask not for whom the "Taps" sound. They sound for thee — and me.

Not this year perhaps, but there can't be many years ahead for our 99th Division veterans. The youngest of us are in our 80s; others already have passed 90.

We've told and retold our stories. I know I have. They're preserved for historians in back issues of the Checkerboard. Bill did and Donna continues to do a great job. Thanks.

There are times in history — fortunately very rare — when war is a more civilized response than peace. Our war was one such example. That's good. It would have been a tragedy if our buddies died or were maimed needlessly. Others may disagree, but to my mind the Iraq war is a tragedy.

Our war was more than 60 years ago and most of us were together for less than two years. But the lessons we learned have stayed with me.

To be sure, I've forgotten how to take apart and reassemble an M-1 rifle. But I haven't forgotten that people from vastly different backgrounds can form a bond by living together, sharing hardships together, and helping each other.

During our time in combat, we lived in holes we dug in the ground and mixed lemonade powder with snow for a K-ration dessert. We mourned silently or cursed angrily when we heard of the death of someone we knew. But we voiced optimism that a buddy had only a million-dollar wound that would get him back home but not permanently disabled.

It was a long time ago. I remember some names but the faces mostly escape me. We were the lucky ones.

In our old age, some of us have to live with frustrating infirmities or the loss of loved ones. But we enjoyed good years, many of them. Those we try to remember never had the chance.

And finally, we may disagree among ourselves about politics or public policy. But even in a heated argument, we never would challenge the other person's patriotism. That's part of our shared heritage.

David L. Perlman C/394

3156 Gracefield Rd., #305

Silver Spring MD 20904

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