Some Things You Don’t Understand Until You Are Older…

As a child, I never understood why my grandfather would get up and leave the room when MASH was on.

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I would ask him to watch the funny show with me but he would politely refuse and make an excuse to go outside or down to his workshop in the basement.

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As I grew older I learned that he fought in the Korean War, the war MASH takes place in. When I would ask him what he did when he was over there, he would simply say that he “Drove trucks.”

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With that simple statement to guide my imagination, I thought he just drove trucks around on the base he was stationed at. A simple, safe profession. No more dangerous than when we drive to the grocery store…

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He died before I was old enough to know more. In high school, I learned about the Korean War. I learned about the horrors and the atrocities committed on both sides…

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I learned what “driving trucks” entailed. Hauling loads of ammunition, fuel, food, vehicle parts, fresh soldiers to the front line, wounded ones back to the triage tents. Large, slow moving targets that the enemy would love to destroy…

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I began to understand why he would leave the room when MASH came on. It was more than a show to him. It was real, he was there. He saw what the show could not tell you… how those men got injured.

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He saw the horrors I only read about. I would think back to his words, “I drove trucks.” Such a simple description. It was the absolute truth in every sense of the word… but it was all I needed to know at the time.

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I now understand why he was so vague. He was protecting me. He didn’t want me to know what he went through, what he saw, and maybe even what he had to do…

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I think I understand the man that was my grandfather more now that I am an adult. He knew I would eventually learn what happened over there…

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