My oldest son, Richard, has been in town for a conference at the Navy Yard, and suffering with our horrible (for him) March weather. This afternoon, his longtime pal Pete drove him to Dulles where, hopefully, he will depart for sunny San Diego (he just texted from Dulles that all is going smoothly).
True, we have snow on the ground, 4.6 inches downtown according to the meteorologist on our favorite local news channel. But our metro area is so huge, stretching from the southern Pennsylvania border halfway to Richmond VA, and from West Virginia to southern Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay, that when national news reports say this or that about Washington weather, it means little.
This weather shall pass as someone said, and next week will be beautiful and in the 60s. The Park Service predicts the Cherry blossoms will bloom around the Tidal Basin later in March. April is Garden month in Virginia, when everything blooms…our peak season of the year around here.
Connie drove up from the farm and we had a lovely visit with Richard with a stimulating conversation about national politics, congress people meddling with defense budgets, and history, over a meal at our favorite Thai restaurant.
While I’ve been cooped up by the weather, I’ve read about 30 percent of my latest book, Inferno, the World at War 1939-1945, by Max Hastings. When he retired, Jonathan Yardley listed Inferno as the best book ever written about WWII, and from what I’ve read, I think it probably is. Hastings has written several books about The War, he being a very fine military historian, but this book is superb because he 1/ covers the war in Asia, the Pacific, and Africa (downplaying D-Day and Pearl Harbor), and 2/ includes letters, diaries and journals of the participants with both the Axis and Allied forces, as well as much additional information, even a passage from Herman Melville about the sea. Comprehensive is the word I want.
I have just finished the section on the battle for Guadalcanal, where two of my children’s uncles served with the Marines. When I was a kid, one of the first books I read was my Dad’s copy of Guadalcanal Diary, given him by his Mom for his birthday in 1943. A memoir written by war correspondent Richard Tregaskis, and first published by Random House on January 1st 1943, it recounts the author’s time with the United States Marine Corps on Guadalcanal in the early stages of the pivotal months-long battle there starting in 1942. For many years, this book was required reading for Marine Officers. My children’s dad told me when he shipped out to Asia in the 1950s, a film of the same name, and John Wayne’s film, Sands of Iwo Jima were shown on board the aircraft.
I was thinking about this today because my cousin Sue’s oldest boy Karl shipped out this week for the Middle East where he has already served several tours of duty. I wish him and all his comrades-in-arms well in what seems a never-ending state of war.