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Thread: Off Topic (3 Hankies, at least)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
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    Off Topic (3 Hankies, at least)

    If you are the child, grandchild,etc. of a WW II vet read on and listen to the song with the link provided (but first grab a Kleenex)


    Song salutes World War II veterans

    By Mark Schwed
    Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Friday, October 21, 2005

    The elderly parking lot attendant wasn't in a good mood. Neither was Sam Bierstock. It was around 1 a.m. and Bierstock, a Delray Beach eye doctor, business consultant, corporate speaker and musician, was bone tired after appearing at an event. He pulled up in his car and the parking attendant began to speak. "I took two bullets for this country and look what I'm doing," he said bitterly. At first, Bierstock didn't know what to say to the World War II veteran. But he rolled down his window and told the man, "Really, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you." Then the old soldier began to cry. "That really got to me," Bierstock says.
    Cut to today.
    Bierstock, 58, and John Melnick, 54, of Pompano Beach a member of Bierstock's band, Dr. Sam and the Managed Care Band have written a song inspired by that old soldier in the airport parking lot. The mournful Before You Go does more than salute those who fought in WWII. It encourages people to go out of their way to thank the aging warriors before they die. "If we had lost that particular war, our whole way of life would have been shot," says Bierstock, who plays harmonica on the tune. "Every ethnic minority would be dead. And the soldiers are now dying at the rate of about 2,000 every day. I thought we needed to thank them." The song is striking a chord. Within four days of Bierstock placing it on the Web (www.beforeyougo.us), the song and accompanying photo essay have bounced around nine countries, producing tears and heartfelt thanks from veterans, their sons and daughters and grandchildren. "It made me cry," wrote one veteran's son. Another sent an e-mail saying that only after his father consumed several glasses of wine would he discuss "the unspeakable horrors" he and other soldiers had witnessed in places such as Anzio, Iwo Jima, Bataan and Omaha Beach. "I can never thank them enough," the son wrote. "Thank you for thinking about them." The e-mails, phone calls and letters are proof that the main message of the song is "really hitting home," says Bierstock. It took him just a few days to write the lyrics, but four years to find the right person for the music. That turned out to be Melnick. "It came spitting out in 15 minutes," says Melnick, who plays keyboards and does the vocals on Before You Go. "That's the sign of a good song." They thought about shipping it off to a professional singer, maybe a Lee Greenwood type, but because time was running out for so many veterans, they decided it was best to release it quickly, for free, on the Web. They've sent the song to Sen. John McCain and others in Washington, as well as the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Kansas City. Already they have been invited to perform it in Houston for a Veterans Day tribute this after just a few days on the Web. They hope every veteran in America gets a chance to hear it. "I think it's funny that the music-buying population is 13- and 14-year-old girls, but we're shooting for 80-year-old guys," Melnick says. Neither Bierstock nor Melnick served in the armed forces, but both have close friends or family members who did. Bierstock also serves as chief medical officer for IBM's business consulting group, but his true love is his music and Dr. Sam and the Managed Care Band. Melnick, the newest member, is a songwriter and musician formerly from New York. The band travels the country providing comic relief and political commentary for corporate gatherings, usually ones involving health-care workers. Some of Dr. Sam's satirical tunes include Checkin' Out My Records, You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Blue Shield, and You're One Hip Mama 'Cause They Won't Pay for Two. Dr. Sam skewers the managed-care world on his CD, Minimal Service, which he sells for free, "with a $14.95 co-pay." But this new song is serious business. And both appreciate the reaction from the vets who for so long have kept quiet about the carnage they witnessed and hardships they endured. "We're stirring up quite a few emotions in people," Melnick says. "But the whole country can use just a little bit of an awakening, a little more remembrance, instead of just a barbecue on Veterans Day. We should celebrate the great things about our country. And take the time to say thank you."
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    SE PA, zone 6b
    Thank you very much for the link. I was 7 on Pearl Harbor Day and my Dad was already called up. He died in 1994 at age 84. Most of his conversation in the last few months were about his experiences in the War. He relived many instances that were none too pleasant. He's at peace now.

    We lived in Long Beach, CA, at the time. My family were all out working in the front yard, when a neighbor came running down the street hollering, "Odie (my dad), Odie, the Japs have bombed Pearl Harbor." Dad got into uniform and we didn't see him for days afterward. He very soon served in the Pacific Theatre, and we didn't see him for years. We had air raid drills in school. To this day, no one knows why they didn't come on to the West Coast. It was a frightening time, and all during the war, we followed the newsreels at the movies with more than average interest.

    I've always been interested in the War since. It was a priviledge to travel among the places our men fought in Italy. What a price! Compare the numbers in WWII and/or Korea with our present situation. I mourn each death, but thank God that technology is taking the place of human beings. The total number of deaths in WWII is beyond imagining. Another reminder: it took many years and many foreign aid dollars to get the countries of Europe self-sufficient again. Let's not be too impatient with Iraq which has never tasted the concept of democracy.

    Read Hermann Wouk's The Winds of War and War and Remembrance , also W.E.B. Griffin's two series, The Brotherhood and The Corps for some vivid pictures about what it was like. Bodie Thoene has written a number of books about what being a Jew in Europe was like in the 30's and 40's. These books are all in fiction form but very true to the life of the times. All are super well researched.

    Again, thanks for the link and the reminder. May we never forget!
    SE PA, zone 6b

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