Posted by: SJS | August 16, 2017

Red Stahley fought the Nazis in 1944. He’d be plenty upset today.

As a 19-year old newly minted PT radioman, my father was assigned to various PT bases in North Africa and on Mediterranean islands.  His first taste of war arrived with German fighter planes strafing Allied positions on sea and land.  As a part of the distinguished PT  Squadron (Ron) 15, he played a role in the invasion of Southern France which occurred in the late summer of 1944.  In conjunction with British and French troops, the liberation of France begun on D-Day (June 6, 1944) continued with the Allied thrust along the Mediterranean coast.  Red’s early experience of war, of which I know very little, had a major impact on his young life and shook him the core of his being.

One of my strongest memories from childhood is how powerfully he would react to any image of the Swastika–the infamous symbol on the German flag from the war years.  Nothing would set him off more quickly than seeing that symbol which triggered memories of loss, suffering, and hate.  When we moved to a new neighborhood in Philadelphia in 1964 that had a heavy concentration of Jewish families, some vandals were carving swastikas in wet cement and spray painting it on some nearby houses.  All I can say is that those punks were lucky that my father never caught them; his fury was like a churning fire.

The recent ugliness, mayhem, and murder in Charlottesville, VA, would have offended my father deeply.  Seeing armed Neo-Nazis running around with swastika flags in the company of Klansmen and other assorted segments of white trash would have pushed him to the brink.   And living in the United States with a Nazi sympathizer in the White House?  Listening to a Commander in Chief who enables hate groups and counts White Supremacists as his closest advisers?  I shudder to think of the things he would be saying about all of this vile hatred and racial bigotry that have been unleashed by the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

May the spirit that animated the Greatest Generation rise anew in our country so that we might reclaim the qualities that have always made America great–tolerance, benevolence, courage, and respect for others.


  1. My dad would also be upset. He was in North Africa and Italy.

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