Editor’s Note: The following was written by Jack Macdonald, a University of Nebraska senior whose home is at Bremerton, Wash.
I had known Slim only about six months but those six months were a thousand years long. He was my friend. We marched together, laughed together, talked together—about home and girls and after the war. Together we sweated, inhaled dust, ducked bullets, cursed the Japs, the generals, the second lieutenants, the world and ourselves.
I can remember he used to tell about the way his mother made spaghetti and meat balls with a special sauce; about Mary, how he knew he loved her, and of all the plans they had made, Or maybe the talk was about Skip, his little mongrel dog. Sometimes it was about the lake eleven miles from his home where he and his dad went fishing.
Slim laughed and joked a lot. I can see his eyes now. When he laughed, they lit up from the inside. Even at night they made a fellow think of a bright summer day.
Slim is dead now. Why?
Plot six, row two, grave fourteen, Manila Cemetery No. 2. That’s Slim now. But why?—why?
Slim will never again see Mary or play with Skip or go fishing with his dad. Slim was just a good-natured kid from a farm in the Midwest who was looking forward to going home. He’ll never go home now. And I keep wondering—-Why?
I remember he used to say to me: “Freedom’s a great thing, Mac. If you haven’t got that, then nothing else in this world is worth much. But freedom isn’t just something that some people have and others don’t have. It’s a lot more than that. You have to work to get it and work to keep it. You have to be willing to fight for it—even die, so that other people can have its benefits. If a man isn’t willing to fight and die for freedom, then he isn’t worthy of having freedom.”
I supposed that is why Slim is dead. Because men think so little of their greatest possession—freedom, they let it get away from them and good guys like Slim have to die to get it back.
Source: Battle Creek Enterprise, Thursday, Nov. 11, 1948, page 1.