A summation of my father’s WWII Long Road Home.
The Ledo road can still be seen on Google Earth. What a massive undertaking it was–to restore lost supply routes to China. Some engineers had credentials dating back to construction of the Panama Canal.
East met West in a colossal clash of cultures. It’s a miracle the Ledo road was ever completed. Myriad languages, superstitions, traditions, and religions complicated matters at hand. Right of way delays due to evil spirits in boulders and trees were not uncommon.
At first, my father found, life in faraway Assam province, strange and new. It challenged core values; if God were merciful, why had he been sent there? Two years later, none of it mattered. I was taken by father’s humble humanness reflected in letters home. Quite different from the strict, everything by the Good Book patriarch, I remembered as a child.
War’s indelible stains tainted everything–same then, as now. To survive, some bargained with Beelzebub. Gambled, selectively followed orders, traded goods on the black market. My father, like most soldiers, questioned everything–the mission, the war–absurdities of life. Breaks…
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