February 19th is the Rage Against the War Machine rally in DC. It just so happens to be my dad’s birthday as well. He was born on that date in 1917, endured the Great Depression, worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps and in factories until being drafted in 1942, and after the war became a firefighter, serving for more than thirty years until retiring. With my dad in mind, here’s the speech I’d give if I was invited on the stage. (The rally already has 27 speakers, but hopefully I can add a bit of rage and inspiration of my own.)[To be clear: this is an “imaginary” speech. I am not one of the 27 speakers.]
Hello everyone. Today would have been my dad’s 106th birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad!
In the late 1930s, when my dad was working hard for low pay in a factory, he tried to enlist in the U.S. Navy. The Navy recruiter rejected him because he was roughly a half inch too short. After Pearl Harbor, and remembering his rejection, my dad didn’t join the eager volunteers.
He waited to be drafted and reported to the Army. He served in an armored headquarters group but never went overseas to fight.
That fact, and his earlier rejection by the Navy, is perhaps why I’m alive today to add my voice of rage against the military-industrial complex and America’s permanent state of undeclared war.
Read more here.