Thursday, November 27, 2008
A Tribute to Marty
As I was driving north from Orange County to the San Fernando Valley with my mother and daughter to attend a family Thanksgiving dinner today, I happened to listen to the Sean Hannity Show on the radio as I usually do when in my car on a weekday. Since it was Thanksgiving, the show was a taped replay of previous broadcasts. Thankfully, I was wearing thick, dark sunglasses because Sean's show started the tears flowing down my cheeks. You see, Sean was doing a tribute to his friend, Marty Kenney, a daily caller to his show who had died November 4th at the age of 90.
Marty was not just any caller. He had been calling into Sean's show on a daily basis since 1996. He was not just a radio talk show enthusiast. Marty, who lived in New Jersey, was a true American patriot and true American hero. As a young soldier during World War 2, he had participated in the invasion of Normandy in 1944.
On countless, occasions while driving in my car, I had listened to Marty call in to Sean's show in the closing minutes for a short comment-always accompanied by Sean's tape of a turn-of-the-century piano piece. Marty's comments were simple and to the point-he loved his country, and he loved the young men and women in uniform who are defending it today.
Today, I listened to Sean talk about what Marty meant to him, what an inspiration Marty was to him, and how Marty had become like a second father to him.
Marty didn't like to talk about his experiences in World War 2, particularly in Normandy though Sean wanted to hear about them. For Marty, it was too painful. Today, Sean's show played a tape of his conversation with Marty this past anniversary of D-Day, in which Marty managed, through his emotions, to recount the horrors of landing at Normandy amd struggling past the bodies of his killed comrades as he tried to fight his way to shore and across the beach.
As I listened to Marty talk about that day, I recalled the day in the 1980s when I and my family visited Normandy. I will never forget walking through the cemetery among the headstones and thinking how the young men who were buried there had truly died for a noble purpose. As we walked down the hill to the beach, I imagined the soldiers coming in the opposite direction, fighting their way across the sand dunes and trying to scale the hill in the face of withering German machine gun fire.
Had it not been for those young men and so many others like them, what corner of the world would be living in freedom today?
Marty Kenney was one of those men.
Marty was one of those people who were part of the "Greatest Generation". As their numbers dwindle, it is sad that so many of our younger generations are so ignorant about their sacrifices. Sadder yet that so many Americans don't appreciate what our military has done and does today. It seems to me that it should be a standard part of every young American's education to take them on excursions to places like Normandy and Pearl Harbor.
I won't demean Marty's memory here by comparing him to certain well-known contemporary figures who have shown nothing but disdain for their country. They don't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Marty Kenney. Just let this be a tribute to a great American and thanks to Sean Hannity for sharing Marty with the rest of us.