On this Memorial Day 2011 two wars draw our young service men and women into harms way, even as we remember those who have fallen in all our previous conflicts.  Today, it is  an all-volunteer force which fights on our behalf in Iraq and Afghanistan, all but separated from the vast majority of Americans in whose name they are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.  A generation ago it was a drafted army that connected Americans of all socio-economic strata, which ultimately caused the country to come to political terms with its aims in Vietnam.  I am the son of two World War II veterans, one from Poland, the other from America.  In their time there was no separation of purpose, nor a coming to political terms with the conflict before them.  How unified was the nation, how willing America’s sons were to march into battle, and why, is captured movingly in the following letter my father wrote to his mother as he shipped out to the battlefields of Europe 67 years ago.  Continue reading