The Hero I Took to VOTE

beauford-at-the-booth

On Election Day, I continued a tradition that I have been doing for years. My last blog, below, explained it in detail, but in brief; I find the name of someone who died fighting for our freedoms. One of those freedoms is the right to vote, so right before I vote, I say their name and thank them for their sacrifice. Giving their life so that I, (we) can exercise one the most precious human rights there is. namely, to have a say in determining ones’ destiny.

This year’s hero is a World War II Sergeant who won his medal of honor in the bloody Okinawa conflict, one April day in 1945. I discovered his incredible story while researching a character arc for my new book, Constantine’s Dagger. His citation below says it all…

beauford-t-anderson-medal-of-honor

For more truly amazing reading, go to MEDAL OF HONOR WINNERS. Next week, I’ll post the other man of honor I met, vis-a-vis research, whose story also plays a role in my new book.

Remembering What Didn’t Happen…

Here’s What Didn’t Happen This Morning:

image

We didn’t wake up to another long daily speech by “Four” instilling in us the national purpose. There was no weekly push to identify and register undesirables.  There was no report of skirmishes with the Empire on its eastern borders overnight.  Especially in the Yamoto mountain range, just past the Mississippi River. We did not hear that, as of today, the national Youth Orientation requires all 14 – 17 year olds to now wear the new brown shirts that have been ordered by “Four”

There was no news report that the council had raised the taxes on Jews, Free-Blacks, Gypsies, and Homosexuals to a seasonally adjusted high. Also the little town of Twin Oaks, Ohio wasn’t machined gunned by the Goring Division’s elite Shock Troop unit, killing every last man, women and child in a 20 block “ghetto” area, an ordered response by “Four” to the “Undesirable’s “ uprising that killed five Policemen of the State.

And best of all, we weren’t forced to listen to the exploits of Four’s two sons as they partied and ate their way through Himmler University, formerly Oxford over in the old London area of the New Deutschland.  The smaller of the two offspring, Enrich Hitler, who, as we are constantly reminded, shot his girlfriend’s dad when he found out he was one quarter Jew, (Enough already we’ve heard that a thousand times…) had recieved, as usual, all A’s in his grades like a good little wunderkind.

That would have been today in The New Reichland, or as it used to be known The United States of America, before we lost World War Two. The German Third Reich (…may it reign for a thousand years) winning the east part of the new fatherland, and by treaty, the Japanese new kingdom of Shōwa existing in the most western states.

The great cleansing occurred from 1948 thru 1960 with Former American citizens, who rejected their new authoritarian overlords, and refused to speak only German, the new national language, were systematically and efficiently eliminated by the Fuehrer’s Purification branch. (The over 38 million bodies evaporated using the glorious Nazi uranium reactors, first created towards the end of 1944 during the Great Victory of the Third Reich (…may it reign for a thousand years).

The one party, National Socialist Government assures all it’s loyal citizens that the unrest fomented in the troubled west, the Japanese held nation of Shōwa, named posthumously after the great axis ally Hirohito, will be crushed by a new weapon, the Stuka V26 Drones. Chancellor for life, his right and correct self; Adolf Hitler the Fourth, cited his beloved great-grandfather, Hitler the first, (…may his memory live for a thousand years) by stressing the that the New Aryan blood lines, the fruit of the great victory shall not perish under the boot of those Japanese Imperialist who are not satisfied with the award of the western part of the continent.  There was no comment from the emperor’s palace in New Edo (formerly Los Angeles.) Also, the state office for news and propaganda reported normal relations with our Italian neighbor to the south, Messico d’ Il Duce. The former Mexican nation granted to, and named after, our ally in the Great Victory, Benito Mussolini.

Oh, and their was three other things that didn’t happen today, “Four” (more properly, Adolf the Fourth) didn’t announce the new “Schwarz” tax regulations in which New Reichlanders will be taxed 500 Marks more for each of their Black servants and the new death sentences announced for those who mix blood with this or any non-Aryan species (including of course, Jews.) The Ministry of Purification held firm however, that unrepentant homosexuality after 10 years of State mandated re-education, still remains punishable by death.

1157031166

NONE OF THIS HAPPENED…

because brave men and women fought and died to defeat this atrocity of human endeavor called the Third Reich and their allies the Japanese Empire.  That’s why Memorial Day is more than a day off, an un-official start to summer or a great sale day at the malls… Memorial Day honors those who gave up the rest of their lives so we wouldn’t live the rest of ours in The New Third Reich.

No one under the age of 50 today seriously thinks that this, or some dystopian version of it, would be life, as we know it in America today if we had lost the war. Let me assure you, World War II was not made for the movies. This wasn’t a small disagreement between two philosophies academically opposed. This was real hell. 70 millions of people died, at least 6 million men, woman and children exterminated by the “state” because of to whom and how they prayed (Jews), or whom they loved (Gays) or their low social status (Gypsies). Ten times more humans were uprooted, made homeless and lost everything.

Why? How? The forces of totalitarianism, enslavement and racism, (a small minority of the German people – but the ones with the guns,) started out in their quest to dominate the world using “blitzkrieg” or lightning-fast attacks with massive overkill and total destruction. In the end, these, “supermen” were fighting for their very existence. Their goal of domination and purification of the world halted when it ran up against the only place on Earth in the 1940’s that could stop them after Europe fell, The Untied States of America. Make no mistake, the NAZI dreamed of marching into Times Square like they marched under the Arc’ triumph in Paris. (Check it out on Google or Wikipedia, dude. They actually killed tons of innocent people and took over France!) Burning down the U.S. capitol and enslaving the liberty loving Americans was the goal of the entire Germany-Italy-Japan “Axis” war machine.

The only thing that stopped them, and saved Europe, and the World was the American and Allied Soldiers, PERIOD! They were men and women of every race, ethnicity and creed who fought the good fight. May their memories; the memories of the fallen who so nobly gave of themselves for our freedom… may their memory never wane for a thousand, thousand years.

God Bless their souls and God Bless America and you. Have a safe and reflective Memorial Day.

Re post of Rita Crosby’s Huffington Post Piece

A Hero’s Farewell and a Daughter’s Undying Love

I haven’t been able to write about my father’s passing until now, as it’s been such a gut-wrenching personal loss for me and for his beloved homeland. But I felt on this Veterans Day weekend it was important to honor my dad, as his sheer survival exemplifies what it truly means to be an American and reveals the unwavering determination the human spirit has to prevail in the most dire of circumstances.

2012-11-12-Richard_CosbyCorps

As the embassy dignitaries solemnly approached me to officially present my father’s medal, my eyes immediately filled with tears. They caringly placed one of his country’s highest honors, a beautiful gold Maltese Cross enameled in white, into the palm of my shaking hand. It was a profound and overwhelming moment that was — literally — decades in the making.

I slowly walked over to my father’s oak casket and gently placed the medal onto the flag that draped his coffin and likewise commemorated his courage, my hand lingering a moment as if to touch his heart one last time. The color guard raised their sabers in a dramatic salute as a sign of respect for the historic moment: My father had finally earned the recognition he deserved for the heroism he had exemplified almost seventy years earlier when he had nearly died fighting for the freedom of his country.

The long journey to this moment had begun when my father had desperately crawled through the dark and corpse-filled sewers of Warsaw, and had continued in a brutal Nazi POW camp, where my father, Ryszard Kossobudzki, sold the suit off his back for a loaf of bread.

At just thirteen years of age, he saw the German planes invade and decimate his country in September of 1939. Life changed forever in Poland, but my father’s steadfast patriotism did not. Although he was offered a chance to sneak out across the border after the fighting began, he did not leave. Instead, he voluntarily chose to stay and fight in the Warsaw Uprising of World War II, knowing the heavy odds were that he would die for his country. More than eighty percent of his citizen unit, virtually unarmed soldiers, did.

Young Kossobudzki was known by his comrades only by a code name which, when translated, meant “Mountain Lion.” He had chosen that name to remind himself that he had to run fast and sneak by the Nazis. And, like a cat, he had many lives, narrowly cheating death over and over. He was shot at, torn up by grenade shrapnel, and chased by a dive bomber which obliterated the building he ran to. But eventually he was seriously injured by a mortar shell that killed his comrade who was standing just a few feet away. When he left Warsaw in October 1944, the once vibrant city was smoldering rubble, by some estimates, a staggering eighty-five percent destroyed.

The young freedom fighter was held at gunpoint by the Nazis as they threw his near lifeless and bloodstained body onto a boxcar headed toward a German POW camp. As every bump of the steam locomotive made him wince in pain, all that mattered to this stalwart resistance warrior was to make sure he and his buddies made it through the next hour or day. Amazingly, it was around this time that he was nominated by his Commander for the esteemed Fighter’s Cross, the equivalent of the American Silver Star (something I discovered just a few years ago while researching and writing Quiet Hero, the bestselling book about my father). Ultimately, a daring escape from the POW camp led him to the safety of U.S. troops, who met my father — now weighing a mere ninety pounds on his six foot frame — with cheers and hugs on a small German riverbed. It was young American GIs who saved my father and told him he was finally free.

My dad faced his final battle in life with the same courage, grace, and dignity that he had displayed as a teen. When he shared with me recently that he had cancer, my heart broke. Hearing the fear and pain in my voice, he said to me, “Don’t worry — in the Uprising, five German units couldn’t get me, I’ll fight this with everything I have, too.” And he did.

He had choked up when I told him the Polish Consulate had learned, through documents that were hidden during the war, that he had been nominated in 1944 for the prestigious Fighter’s Cross. He humbly said all he cared about at the time was “not to have a wooden cross,” meaning killed in battle. Like so many veterans, he didn’t seek awards or accolades, he only cared about protecting his country and survival. Despite his incredible humility, I privately began diligently working on getting him the acknowledgements he greatly deserved. I felt it would not only recognize my father, but all of the unsung heroes of WWII.

Knowing time was of the essence, I remained determined and made a trip to Poland to press forward on this important process for my dad. Appropriately, on Memorial Day weekend this year, a Polish embassy official and the Defense Attaché came to my father’s hospital bed in the ICU unit and formally presented him with a beautiful gold medal from the Defense Minister. As they pinned that medal and the Fighter’s Cross on my father’s hospital gown, even the critical care nurses and doctors who bore witness to emotional leavenings on a daily basis, were misty-eyed. To the sound of their applause, my father also officially became an officer, promoted from Corporal to Second Lieutenant. The uniformed general gave him a hearty salute. I was so thankful my dad was alive to see those great honors.

The road to my father’s past and back was an emotional journey for both my father and me after years of painful separation, but I was grateful that we shared the beautiful ending of his remarkable life. As one friend told me, “You made his last years, his best.” I think given what my father endured as a teenager thrust into WWII, the least I could do as a daughter was to make sure he was appreciated for his tremendous record of service and ultimately honored. I believe it is the least we can do for all of our veterans and their selfless contributions,

As my father took his last breaths, I promised him I would always remind people of the extraordinary sacrifice of his fearless young Polish comrades and the brave U.S. troops who saved him and — I believe — saved the world in WWII, and continue to do that time and time again. I also told him how much I loved him and would miss him.

As my father quietly slipped away, he was not only surrounded by accolades from America and his homeland, but by those who loved him dearly, holding his hand as the heroic Lieutenant Kossobudzki completed his last mission.