As I approach a milestone birthday, I’m flooded with memories. One that comes to mind this morning is a time when my father and I were at a farm on County Line Road. We were getting milk from a distant relative; he generously provided it when we couldn’t afford to buy it.

His name was Louis. He was a veteran of World War II, as was Dad. They were both suffering the aftermath of battle and the stresses of seeing and doing horrific things. Both men were patriots in the best sense of the word.

I was there one evening when Dad and Louis were reminiscing. What I heard my military father say lingers with me still. He asked his friend, “Louis, did you kill any Germans.” The response was “Yes.” And Dad then said, “That’s too bad. Germans are good people.”

And a sacred silence filled the room as we all pondered the depth and the breadth of those few words. They bless and haunt me to this very day.