Just home for a few days after becoming an officially minted “medic” at Fort Sam in San Antonio, I remember my dad talking with me. I was taken back... shocked... by his question because he had never mentioned his combat experience to me.
He had tears in his eyes when he asked me, a kid of 21 with no combat experience and no real medical training, if it could have been possible for him to have saved his best friend who had been shot in the chest while they manned a machine gun against a German Army attack. He propped his friend up in the back of their foxhole and kept firing the gun as they were nearly overrun. When he looked back a few minutes later his friend had died.
Overcome with empathy and love for my hero father, I knew he was suffering a traumatic loss he would never forget. He believed he could have done something more to have saved his friend.
To this day I cry for my father.
(I believe this incident occurred during the Battle of the Bulge, WWII. Dad's unit, the 80th Infantry Div., was one of the units fighting to relieve the 101st Airborne Div., which was surrounded and besieged in the City of Bastogne.)
(This article was originally published, 4 Sept 2012, following the Republican National Convention, when Gov. Romney claimed his "success" was totally his own doing. - RB)