Recognizing the Incredible
by Joesph Kellard
March 29, 2004
On occasion, an unusual, even incredible story falls onto a journalist's lap. It happened for me after Ed Hynes read my Dec. 4 article on Nat Glanz, and these two fellow World War II prisoners of war decided to reunite.
It's incredible that they met for just 10 minutes in a Nazi prison camp nearly six decades ago, but Hynes remembered Glanz from certain details in my article. It's incredible that they both lived in Oceanside during the same 52 post-World War II years, and belonged to the same veterans organization, yet never knew about each other until last week. It's incredible that my story served as the catalyst that reunited them. Their reunion was a memorable experience for me as well.
During my four years as a reporter, writing about many different people, I've come to learn about and respect no group of individuals more than war veterans. I'd never previously attended Memorial Day or Veterans Day ceremonies, but after hearing the vets or their supporters speak while reporting on these events, I began to more deeply understand their importance. And there are no more important vets than those from World War II.
They were called on to defeat an evil regime in Nazi Germany that possibly could have conquered America. Moreover, with the fall of the Nazis primarily at US hands, the example was set for the equally evil Soviet regime that any effort to enslave Americans under Communist rule would be met with our unprecedented military might.
Men like Hynes and Glanz -- who fought at the Battle of the Bulge, were imprisoned in a Nazi camp, and witnessed the atrocities of war-torn Europe -- should be admired and thanked endlessly. They put their lives on the line so that they and all of us can enjoy the freedoms that have made America the most advanced, prosperous and greatest nation in history -- each individual's right to his property, to free speech and trade, to freedom of association and religion, and to vote.
While watching and listening to Hynes and Glanz embrace and exchange war stories, I recognized how special it was for me to be among members of a rapidly shrinking fraternity who fought in a war that time may recognize as the most significant in history. I thought about how many vets like them are ordinary men, but are nonetheless extraordinary in what they accomplished. In short, they helped sustain the only ultimate hope for mankind and civilization: the United States of America.
I was also reminded that we are in the midst of a new war, one in which we face an enemy that is arguably eviler -- one that seethes with anger and seeks not merely to conquer but to annihilate all Americans, and would clearly do so given that chance.
Hynes and Glanz embody an era of Americans who faced down, fought and destroyed evil threats to this great nation. Let's hope the lessons of their lives -- the moral rightness and courage they carried throughout their mission -- are not lost on us today.
* Joseph Kellard is a journalist and freelance editorialist living in New York. To read his weekly column on poliltics and culture, visit his web site, The American Individualist, at www.theai.net. For his additional writings, visit Musings & Goings On.
Copyright 2004: New York Heroes Society, Inc.