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Sunday, May 30, 2004

A Proud Man and a Difficult Decision 

I've mentioned a couple of times that my Mother's family was Amish/Mennonite. My Mom never joined that religion, but was raised in those surroundings. I attended a Mennonite college, but only because I had an opportunity to study under one of the most talented operatic sopranos in the country at that time. After 3 years (and leaving the music program) I left. Let's just say it wasn't on good terms. What you might not know is that the Amish/Mennonite is a pacifistic religion. Yeah, that's right pacifist.

The reason I tell you this is because knowing those things makes the story I'm going to tell you even more unbelievable (and sad). My Mother had 6 sisters and 4 brothers. They were brought up Old World Amish. No electric, no cars, no running water - no comforts. Church just about every day in a religious environment that was, to be kind, stifling. Some of you may have seen the movie Witness - yes, the movie is correct. They will not fight, at all.

My Mom wasn't the only one to question the religion and it's views of life and the world. One of her younger brothers did also. So much so, that during the Korean War he served in the Army. He fought for his country. He fought for our freedom. He was wounded and sent home.

That's all I know. Yeah - can you believe that! Why? Because we were never allowed to talk about it while my Grandparents were alive. Never. Not even he could discuss it. It's just now that I am getting more details. It's just now that I'm able to tell him how very proud I am of what he did. How difficult it must have been to act against everything you had ever been taught. To turn away from your family because you knew you needed to serve your country.

My uncle is a very proud man, as many in his generation are. Proud and silent about what was seen, what was done, how if felt. I may never know the whole story. But I do know that my uncle knows how brave I think he was, and how very proud I am of the man he is.


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My "Other" Family - Fizzen Sparks