I wrote an article critical of the football kneelers. I got pummeled by one reader I do not know, implying I am radical giving too much importance to a piece of cloth.

Let me paint a picture for people who believe Old Glory is unimportant.



Mid-Atlantic, age 17, heavy seas, on my way to Europe, a convoy of many ships. Why am I there?

With many of our ancestors being English, Irish, Welsh and Scottish we came alive to supply the English.

If England fell, we would be next.

My only brother was a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division deployed to Europe. A year later he was killed at the Battle of the Bulge. He was 20 years old.

16 million men/boys were on their way somewhere because the world was in danger from two fanatical ideologies

I was dreaming about my beagle on the farm. The klaxon above my bunk blasted me awake. 

“All hands to duty stations! We are under attack!”

My station was strapped into a 20-millimeter gun mount.

The only time I had shot 20 millimeters was at a target being towed by a small airplane in boot camp.

I quickly realized why I was there. I wished I was back on the farm milk-ing Betsy. 

Destroyers raced through the con-voy with horns blaring, throwing depth charges causing giant geysers hoping to hit enemy submarines below. We did not know how many.

A Liberty ship ferrying ammuni-tion exploded in a giant fireball off our port bow. The Wolf Pack had stuck. No crewmen would survive the explosion.

A cargo ship was torpedoed and began to burn, its crew lowering life-boats from davits and jumping over-board.

I felt sorry for the Merchant Ma-rine crew on the cargo ship that was sinking. A convoy cannot stop to pick up survivors. Ships dead in the water would become easier targets. There were sharks in the water. Tears flood-ed easily.

Over 1500 Merchant Marine trans-ports were sunk by Nazi submarines in the Atlantic during WWII.

A submarine surfaced and was quickly rammed by an alert destroyer. The U-Boat split apart and sank. The Germans should have shot Hitler a long time ago. 

The attack was over, crewmen shaken. Even officers were ashen. We saw the stricken cargo ship sinking be-low the waves. The last thing we saw was our flag fluttering on her main-mast. We stared at the Ensign on near-by vessels and understood what the Stars and Stripes mean to real heroes. We continued to the Mediterranean. The Atlantic calmed. I had become much older.

~ Bill York, Lawrenceville

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