Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The dagger and the cornicello

On the mantle in my parents home sits a dagger. Adorned with a swastika and in its tattered leather sheath, it was taken from the body of a Nazi soldier my grandfather ran over with a tank. In a very real sense, it is the only tangible thing I have to connect me to a man who died well before my birth.

Around my neck is a golden cornicello, also known as an "Italian horn." My other grandfather, serving in the Mediterranean, brought it back with him, and wore it around his neck until his death. It bears teeth marks belonging to a toddler version of me. In a very real sense, it is the only tangible thing that connects me to a man who died before his time.

70 years ago today, the Japanese set in motion events that molded the world we live in today. The generation that won our greatest victory added to the American character principles of sacrifice, unwavering commitment, and selfless love of country and our fellow man. On this Pearl Harbor Day, I hope we all look to our own personal daggers and cornicellos, and remember the ideals that great generation made a part of our nation's moral fiber. May we never forget.

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