I have to say, I’m generally not one of those folks jumping onto bandwagon when it is something average Joe can’t stop raving about. Things like American Idol, the Davinci Code, mySpace, Flickr, and YouTube haven’t really interested me very much.
However, I was editing a Christmas light show video for a friend, who asked me to put it on YouTube for him so he could show it to his friends and family. I was putzing around on the site and somehow came across a series of videos about a WW2 veteran named Les Loken.
I assume that these sites like YouTube and mySpace are mostly used by young, hip kids so I was blown away when I read some of the comments that folks had left. Comments like ‘All the respect in the world to you Mr. Loken’ and ‘Thank you for sharing these stories will all of us. You help us realize how important our history is, and the people who make our history. Thank you Les.’ Most of the comments seem to center on humble gratitude for his service and recognition of how valuable the stories are and how important it is that they be told.
My own grandfather fought in the Pacific on Okinawa. Sadly, I was too young when he died about 14 years ago, to even begin to grasp what he’d done for his country – what he did for me and my family. I was never able to really ask him what happened or what life was like during the war. The veterans I’ve read of almost universally refused to see themselves as heroes. They were just men who had a deep sense of duty and honor to country. I think for many of them “stories” were horrors they lived so we wouldn’t have to. The overriding theme of Flags of Our Fathers was that they honestly felt that their actions were nothing special or out of the ordinary, or deserving of any attention. The uncommon valor of our veterans truly was, and remains so because of people like Les Loken and my grandfather, a common virtue.