I am reading a killer of a book lately; “Killing Patton.”
I know so little about World War II, and reading this book about all of the campaigns, strategies, and so on might shape up my knowledge of history.
Actually, the book is over my head. Sometimes I have to read the same page over and over to understand what was going on. The telling of the story of General George Patton, one of the most brilliant, but often outspoken generals in the WW II theatre, spends time focusing on the war and the strategies.
But war was Patton’s story. And he made enemies — powerful individuals who wanted him silenced.
The book will eventually take me, the reader, inside the final year of the war and recounts the events surrounding Patton’s mysterious death.
What strikes me so far, is the immense loss of lives; the horrible suffering, the immense cruelty of the German army, (and Hitler), and the unbelievable way that war was fought just 70 years ago. It is unfathomable to this simple mind.
There were no internet, no cell phones, and no Google satellite with which to “beam down” and see where armies were hiding or preparing for ambush.
An army of almost a half a million men, with hundreds of tanks and firing power, could actually HIDE from the other side if they planned it right.
Villages were strafed with fire torches, whole families were burned alive, young soldiers were captured, lined up and gunned down. The soldiers froze in foxholes, got drenched to the bone, endured hunger and thirst, were terrified, and were mostly just boys.
The regime under Adolph Hitler murdered over 55 million people. At the same time, the Stalin leadership in Russia took at least 70 million lives.
This book has so far served its purpose. It has gotten my attention, and made me grateful.
And it compels me to evaluate and appreciate our American life style. But it also forces me to face reality of what is important, and strive for some changes in my life.
War is a hellish, unspeakable horror.
There are no winners.
All are losers.
But men must do what they must do. There is no other way. Problems are not settled at the conference table as a rule. That’s the truth.
So in the meantime, let’s appreciate what we have.
So, if you can bear listening to me, here is what I think: That…
No matter how boring or mundane our lives might be, no matter how tired or disgruntled we might feel, that we should be grateful for just living every day in peace.
We should get our eyes off of how hard we work, and work harder!
We should stop criticizing each other and instead, take time to embrace each other.
We should let go of worrying about the many physical things that can go wrong, and more about our souls; ever striving to be gentler, kinder, listen more, talk less, and be merciful to others.
This phrase says it all. “But for the Grace of God, go I.”
We should thank God every day for NOT having to go to bed at night in fear; to recognize that we do live in comfort, and that we don’t have to continually watch our backs to see who is going to kill us, maim us, rob us, torment us.
But living in our culture has no guarantees. We do not know what tomorrow might bring.
And we must face the fact that we may one day be involved in a horrible war or violent situation in this country. We are not infallible.
The book is a difficult read, but reminds me profoundly the cost of lives and the price paid for us to live as we do in this nation. I don’t really know that we deserve it.
But, regardless, the book exposes truth.
Truth. Love it.
It has a way of straightening us out, drawing a line in the sand, causing us to make changes.
Even if I don’t finish this book, I have already come to understand more and be more grateful.
I hope it lasts!
“A Woman’s View” is Judi Tabler’s reflection of her experiences and events. She is a wife, mother, writer, teacher, grandmother, and even a great grandmother. Contact Annie at pprarieannie@gmailcom