For the last time, my hands close the cover of your World War II Service album I have just finished making. It is my hope you’ll like it and see the love I put into every page. I know I promised to make it for you long ago. You sent the captions, pictures, and mementos with your trust of an album’s completion. And there your pictures sat. For years. My children were raised; my marriage disintegrated; and my own Air Force Service career came to its end. And still the album waited to be born.

I literally worked night and day with single-minded obsessionAnd then it was Time. Like long-buried seeds sprout when the Winter Rains pour, I lit my Chanukah candles and marveled at the Light that comes into the world when a few good men are willing to fight for Truth and Right. And I thought of you. Suddenly, I was moved to get the album completed as quickly as possible. Undeterred by the fact that I had never put together a scrapbook such as I was imagining, I shopped for scrap-booking materials. I came home burdened with exotic papers, trinkets and ribbons. I literally worked night and day with single-minded obsession to complete this book as quickly as possible.

I wanted to convey to you how much I valued your contribution to the World War II effort. It doesn’t matter whether you or the millions of other Allied men wanted to leave their homes and families or whether they were forced to board ships for far, distant lands. They went. They fought. Duty. Honor. Country. And all that. Yes, all that. I valued it too. I still do.

Your duty and your sacrifice really did assure that I would be raised in a world “free from want and fear”. My post-war childhood was a world of innocence and freedom that my own children do not know. Yes, you made sure that I had my share of No’s (way-too-many for my liking at the time). And you disciplined me often enough to be sure your values and mother’s (all of Society’s values, actually!) would be inculcated in me. I was to be Honest and Kind and Respectful. I was to love G‑d. I was to be Responsible for myself and my world. Study hard. Do the Right Thing. Be Tolerant of others who are different, for they are really just like me. I was as indulged and cherished as the rest of my Boomer Generation.

And if, when we grew up, we Boomers discovered that our world still had its share of problems, it didn’t change the fact that the Greatest Generation had provided us with a safe beginning to our lives. At least that was true in my own case. I wanted nothing. I feared only the Bogey Man under my bed and the giant Louisiana cockroaches living in the backyard. I grew up with the solemn expectation that I had the right to speak my mind (and boy, did I speak it!) and to worship in any way I chose without fear of governmental censure. Thank you for that. Thank you from the bottom of my heart that you served and fought so that all peoples would have the Freedoms that America holds dear.

You and others of the Greatest Generation survived to spread your Light I’ve kept my promise, Daddy. I finally made your album. And you kept the promises you made to me. But the most important promise you made to me was made long before I was ever born. You stood up against the Darkness that threatened the whole world. You stood up against Italian-Fascism (Mussolini) and German Fascism (Hitler and his Nazis). You may have been but one candle, but combined with a million others, you lit the known world and banished Darkness. Some of those other candles were extinguished in the battles of World War II, but you and others of the Greatest Generation survived to spread your Light into a new world. A few, like you, still burn today. The whispers of smoke from their Lights call to me and others who are listening, “Remember. Remember. Let it not be in vain.”

Perhaps, I’m too emotional, but these thoughts are not mere, maudlin sentiment, despite the pathos in my tone. The threat is very real. Today, Darkness creeps back into our world. Fascism (Islamo-fascism) again shouts that it will destroy us and everything we stand for. And I fear we will have to fight again. Soon.

I look at Alex, your cynical, scrawny, soon-to-be seventeen year old grandson and wonder if he will have the courage and will to fight another World War. This time a war against an ideologically-minded enemy so bent to further its cause that they are willing to throw out the traditional rules of war which protect societies against wanton barbarism. Pronouncing it “nice" Alex reads your war album with the detachment of youth and ignorance. It is just the stuff of history books for him. He doesn’t see the fingers of Darkness lurking in the shadows of his life and future.

Darkness will not win this fight. I have to believe that. I have to believe that G‑d will raise up another heroic generation, who like you, whether willing or forced, will fight against fascism — fighting against the darkness, lighting candles one by one.

Thank you again, Daddy. Thank you for the quiet Duty you display day after day. Someone noticed. Someone is grateful. Thank you for your love, your support, your patience, and your purpose. Thank you.