75 years ago on November 9, 1938,
Nazi troops destroyed Jewish owned businesses, homes, and Synagogues. The time was called Kristallnacht, which meant, “Night of broken glass,” or “Crystal night,” and symbolized the end of Jewish existence in Germany.
Kristallnacht was retaliation for the shooting of German Diplomat, Ernst Vom Rath. Rath was killed by a 17 year-old Polish-Jewish student named Herschel Grynszpan on November 7. As a result, the violence and destruction lasted two days…
Meanwhile, my Old Man was living in the Bronx and reaching his 10th birthday. My Grandparents moved from Austria many years earlier. Both my Grandmother and Grandfather came from the same village.
However, they did not meet until they came to the United States. They left behind family and friends to find a new life in this country.
Those that stayed in Austria were met with the same kind of violence as the German Jews on Kristallnacht.
They died in the death camps of Auschwitz and Mauthausen. I assume they were forced to wear a yellow Star of David stitched into their clothing. Like countless others, this branch of my family was possibly tattooed with numbers and marked for extermination.
As much as anything I have written about myself; this is a part of my heritage.
Although the war was coming to an end, The Old Man volunteered to defend his country in World War II.
On the wall in my writing room, I have a signed document from The President of The United States of America.
It says; “The United States of America honors the memory of Ronald M. Kimmel.
This certificate is awarded by a grateful nation in recognition of devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country in the Armed Forces of the United States.”
See that…. I told you my Old Man was a hero.
He seldom spoke about the time he served. I know he joined as soon as it was legally possible. I know the war was ending, but The Old Man wanted to do his part and serve this country. This, by the way, is the same country that gave refuge to people like my Grandparents and so many others.
On this day, Monday November 11, 2013, we celebrate Veteran’s Day.
I am the guy that stands still when our fag is raised. I am the one with a tear in his eye when our National Anthem is sung.
I have not forgotten the dream, nor will I give up on my country. And though I never served in the Armed Forces, I am the guy that shakes the hand of every veteran I see. I make it a point to warmly thank everyone that serves this country because regardless to our inner struggles, I still believe in the saying, “United we stand, divided we fall.”
Enjoy your day, folks