Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Heroes

Paul was honored to be invited to give the keynote speech for Waukesha's Memorial Day ceremony this Monday. In the speech, surrounded by veterans, Paul encouraged people to appreciate and honor the sacrifices and service of those who died in combat but he also said people should take time to reach out to the "heroes walking among us" - fathers and grandfathers and brothers and sisters and so forth, who have quietly served and who are a fading away testament to our past.

Paul's father Erv was a World War II vet. Paul was raised by a single mother and his father came back into his life only shortly before he died a couple years ago. In that time, Paul told the crowd, he was able to learn about his own father's service for this country. Erv Bucher personally arrested and interrogated one of Hitler's top henchman, Julius Streicher, a man later hung at Nuremberg. Because he was of Swiss German descent, the Army recruited Erv, who spoke fluent German, to work as an interrogator and to do undercover missions in Germany at the height of the war. Erv didn't talk about this much, but as he was fading away, he told Paul a little about his service.

In his speech, Paul praised the service of all veterans, including those in the war in Iraq. As they say, freedom isn't free.