He Seldom Talked About It
HE SELDOM TALKED ABOUT IT
With the coming and going of Veterans Day this past Thursday, I found myself reflecting on the life of my uncle Buddy - - William Sharit Enfinger. From the days of my youth I knew that uncle Buddy had served our nation in WWII. On multiple occasions several of our Pensacola relatives joined together for a weekend camp-out on the beautiful pris-tine white sandy beaches of the Gulf coast a few miles west of Pensacola proper. Uncle Buddy had an gigantic army tent that he erected. My dad had a beach buggy (flatbed pickup truck) that was used to gather driftwood for all-night fires. The men caught fish and the women fried them up in a big kettle that straddled the fire. Such sweet memories of days gone by were joy-filled: exploration and fun with cousins galore overseen by dad & mom, and aunts & uncles!
Like many veterans of war, uncle Buddy wasn't inclined to talking about things. As a part of what later came to be dubbed, the greatest generation, WWII vets often remained close-mouthed about the horrors they had witnessed. My uncle Buddy was in the thick of things. He served under General Geroge Patton as a foot soldier infantryman and fought in the infamous Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded a Bronze Star for heroic service in France, Luxembourg, Germany, and Austria. He was also awarded 2 Purple Hearts, 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, and many other citations. I was honored to speak his eulogy back in 2007 at the Innerarity Point Church of Christ followed by a graveside service with full-military honors and interment at Fort Barrancas National Cemetery. It was a cool, damp February day and I'll al- ways remember the bagpipers fading into the mists as they marched through the cemetery playing Amazing Grace. Most of what I learned about my uncle Buddy's military accomplishments came to my attention after he died. How I wish that I would have come to know more while he was still with us. In retrospect, I now realize that his modesty was one of his shining virtues, serving now and forever to amplify and highlight his honorable service to our country.
As a nation we have been blessed richly by veterans - - thousands of men and women who have sacrificed for our freedom, perhaps more than we will ever know. Many remain reticent to discuss their personal struggles during times of conflict. Some of those who return safely and are recognized as heroes, live out the balance of their lives in an on-going “fog of war”, never quite grasping why they returned upright when so many others came home in a body bags. In that superb cinematic, Band Of Brothers, Major Dick Winters recounts a story attributed to a friend that could apply just as easily to him. A grandson asks if his granddad was a hero during the war, and the grandfather answers, “No, but I served in a company of heroes.” I think my uncle Buddy would have offered an eager Amen!. It is thought- ful to pause on Memorial Day or Veterans Day to ponder and commemorate those who've served our beloved nation - - some gallantly in dire straits and many others faithful in their assignments exercised in less-threatening theaters. Special dates come and go, but it is always a good time to stop and thank a veteran!
Terry Siverd / Cortland Church of Christ