Brother Chuck

26 Jun

I … am an only child with brothers and sisters.  My parents were both married before.  They both had children.  When I came along they were between the ages of 14 and 23.  Consequently, I don’t have a recollection of growing up with brothers and sisters.  (Yes, I know.  Technically, they are my half brothers and sisters while they are steps to each other.  But they’re all that I have.)

The family story included Brother Chuck.  He left school early to join the Navy.  I always heard that he was a Seabee and was headed for Japan when the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  I never heard how close he got to seeing action during World War II, but I do know that he made the acquaintance of a malaria-infected mosquito somewhere in his travels.

CE Fisher Navy

After being separated from the Navy, he joined the Air Force and became a military policeman.  Mother always thought that this would be his vocation until some incident occurred in England and Brother Chuck came home.

SSGT Charles Earl Fisher USAF

He had a variety of jobs.  He was a police officer for a while, then the trucking business, and eventually he owned a service station. He was active in the American Legion and the Jaycees.  I think he held offices in both organizations.

There were 23 years between us.  We didn’t have many conversations.  I do, however, remember one.  It was during Vietnam. It wasn’t a popular war.  There was draft dodgers … war protests … Kent State … civil rights demonstrations … riots … and the Democratic Convention in Chicago.  Brother Chuck didn’t talk about these things but about his military service and life in the United States.

Much of this conversation, I don’t remember.  I was 18 and knew everything; e was my brother from a different generation.  But one theme continued to repeat in my head.  He wasn’t philosophical; he just made a simple statement.

Brother Chuck mentioned the rights, privileges, and benefits of living in the United States and added that each of us are obligated to do something for the country in exchange for those rights, privileges, and benefits.

It got me thinking.  Eventually, I followed his lead and joined the Navy.  It continues to haunt me.

Today it seems that those rights, privileges, and benefits are taken for granted.  They are just freely given.

Just think about it!


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