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Monday, May 28, 2012

WE FORGET THE HEROES_Memorial Day Thoughts

We forget the heroes. Evil, however, clings to our memories like scars on a beautiful woman's face ... or heart.

On one of Marlene Dietrich's last pictures before WWII broke out,

a lowly assistant director was sent home with a high fever, along with harsh words for ever having shown up. He awakened late in the evening to find a woman on her hands and knees scrubbing his kitchen floor.

It was the star of the picture he was working on : Marlene Dietrich.

She had heard he lived alone and had brought over some hot chicken soup. Finding his kitchen floor could stand a washing, she was doing the job herself.

For three solid years during WWII, Marlene entertained our troops on the front lines, despite a death sentence on her head. She was with the troops in winter frosts and under broiling sun.

She bathed out of a helmet like an infantryman, slept on the ground, and refused to be evacuated when artillary pounded the ground around her. She was willing to do anything to amuse the troops : playing musical saw and wearing a jeweled sheath over long G.I. underwear to parade to the sound of enemy fire in the distance.

3 years. And she didn't make one movie all that time and cared not a bit. She was awarded the Medal of Freedom. Hitler would have given her a bullet ... after long hours of torture.

Marlene came back from her three years on the front lines of WWII very much changed. She never got over the horrors she saw there. She slept for months in jeeps, on floors, even on bare dirt.

One afternoon after VE Day, she was walking through a little French village. All around her was rubble, and she couldn't understand why -- all the buildings along the street were still standing with curtains blowing frilly and snapping clean-crisp in their windows.

Then, she looked through one of the windows to see that there was nothing behind it. The fronts of the buildings were still standing, but everything behind them had been destroyed. There wasn't a single living person past the false fronts of those caricature buildings.

With her face cupped in trembling hands, she stood in front of that window, weeping silently, refusing to be comforted ...

"... for there is no comfort for the dead," she whispered.
Ernest Hemingway also wrote this of her : "She is brave, beautiful, loyal, kind, and generous. She is never boring and is as lovely looking in the morning in a G.I. shirt, pants, and combat boots as she is at night or on the movie screen.

She has an honesty and a comic and tragic sense of life that can never let her be truly happy unless she loves. When she loves, she can joke about it -- but it is gallows humor.

TODAY is the LAST DAY to get THE RIVAL for FREE by buying END OF DAYS:

Ernest Hemingway wrote of her : "If she had nothing more than her voice, she could break your heart with it. But she has that beautiful body and the timeless loveliness of her face. It makes no difference how she breaks your heart if she is there to mend it."



  1. Wonderful tribute to a brave woman.

  2. A wonderful tribute, I agree.

    Dad was a World War II Veteran and was very impresed that this brave talented woman.

  3. tHANKS, ALEX:
    Her heroism, like so many others', is largely forgotten.

    Thanks, Gail:
    She probably would have more impressed with his service in WWII. Heroes are like that, Roland

  4. Roland what I find deeply and painfully unsettling is that scenes similar to what you describe her witnessing are happening right now in far too many countries.

    This is a good reminder of the often overlooked costs of war.

  5. Sue:
    You're right. Mankind is not very kind. Each day there are so many children maimed and killed by war. It saddens me, Roland