Duty ~ Bob Greene ~ 11/02 ~ Veterans
October 31, 2002 - 06:43 am

Phyllis Greene,
author of
It Must Have Been


When Bob Greene went home to central Ohio to be with his dying father, it set off a chain of events that led him to knowing his dad in a way he never had before -- thanks to a quiet man who lived just a few miles away, a man who had changed the history of the world. Greene's father -- a soldier with an infantry division in World War II -- often spoke of seeing the man around town. All but anonymous even in his own city, carefully maintaining his privacy, this man, Greene's father would point out to him, had "won the war." He was Paul Tibbets. At the age of twenty-nine, at the request of his country, Tibbets assembled a secret team of 1,800 American soldiers to carry out the single most violent act in the history of mankind. In 1945 Tibbets piloted a plane -- which he called Enola Gay, after his mother -- to the Japanese city of Hiroshima, where he dropped the atomic bomb.

I re-read portions of this book after the tragic events of September 11 as a reminder to myself of the courage and unselfishness of past Americans who did their duty in a time of war. I recommend it as a reminder of those veterans as well as an interesting and insightful look at the importance of determination and strength during anxious times"..............Cliff Hunter’s Reviews


The History of Tinian Island after WWII - a leper colony, a dairy farm, and more.

The navigator of the Enola Gay tells his story

Virtual Tour of the Atomic Bomb


  • Nov.    l -- Pages 1 to 78      
  • Nov.   9 -- Pages 79 to 156  
  • Nov. 16 -- Pages 157 to 208
  • Nov. 23 -- Pages 209 to 292

Discussion Leaders: ELLA and HARRIET

God Bless America
By Kate Smith

Ella Gibbons
October 31, 2002 - 07:09 pm

It is only fitting and proper that Seniornet honor our veterans of wars and we, in the Books, have chosen to show our gratitude this year by reading a bestselling book about two WWII veterans. Please join us as we discuss this book, the veterans, and the bomb - the consequences of the bomb - WE WANT YOUR OPINION!

Before we get too deeply engrossed in the book and our veterans perhaps we can briefly discuss the bomb. Here are two questions that will start us off.

1) Bob Greene, the author, states that "Some people, more than half a century later, still are appalled by what his government asked him (Tibbets) to do. Some people are deeply proud and grateful. Others are ambivalent and, all these years later, confused." What is your opinion?

2) Is there a generational gap between those who believe it was the right thing to do and those who believe our government made the wrong decision? Or, perhaps, a better question would be WHEN did the populace of the USA begin to question the advisability of introducing the atomic bomb into the world?

Ann Alden
November 1, 2002 - 04:27 am

Those are thought provoking questions, and I have been wondering lately whether the scientists really knew how much death and destruction would occur when the bomb was dropped. According to another book that I am reading here, when first discussed by a committee called by Henry Stimson, the then Secretary of War, the bomb was to be used to cause much damage on the Japanese defense plants. (This committee was entirely made up of civilians but included the scientists who were developing the project or at least 4 of the top men) It was also thought that it would make a profound psychological impression on as many inhabitants as possible.(Good grief!) J.Robert Oppenheimer(a scientist involved in producing the bomb) had assured the committee that the visual effect of an atomic bombing would be tremendous. After I read this, I wondered if they knew of the deaths that would be caused and the ongoing exposure health problems which are still with us. The decision to drop the bomb was not made lightly, with many questions asked(and many times, not answered).

There was a scientist, D.C.Brewster, who had worked on the uranium isotope separation for S-1(the name of the bomb?) who was tormented over what a the release of the energy locked up in the atom might mean. He wrote a letter to Stimson(which was passed on to everyone concerned, including the president) saying,"The idea of the destruction of civilization is not melodramatic hysteria or crackpot raving. It is a very real and, I submit, almost inevitable result." He urged a demonstration of one atomic bomb on a target in Japan, but then no further production of nuclear material. He mentioned that our only reason for going on with the project had been to beat Germany in a race to develop the bomb and now that we had defeated Germany, it was no longer necessary to continue promoting this horrible project. His final comments were that even though many greater casualties would happen in conquering Japan, if we didn't drop the bomb, it would be better to proceed down that path. He felt that there would be unconstrained competition in the production of the nuclear material. Wasn't he right??? Isn't that what happened?

On the other side of this argument are the very real comments from right here in Books at the Truman discussion from men who were waiting on the islands near Japan. Just waiting to attack Japan. Many of whom had been shipped to the Pacific Theatre after spending many months and years fighting the war in Europe. They knew what could happen in Japan if we invaded. They knew that the Japanese were very dedicated to winning and would fight to the end of their own civilization. To these soldiers, the bomb brought relief from the fear of once again going into the battles that would ensue.

All of our hindsight would maybe say, we shouldn't have dropped the bomb or we should have known more about the results but this was a world war and the men involved thought that using this weapon would end it and save many lives on both sides.

Did Truman know what horrible consequences would occur? He claimed that he did but no one was very clear on what power the weapon might have. Does the word "desperation" come to mind?

robert b. iadeluca
November 1, 2002 - 04:34 am
What is right? What is wrong? We could get into a long philosophical discussion. What is right in one place is not so in another. What is right at one time is not at another. I speak as a veteran of WWII.

With hindsight we know things now that we didn't know then. We didn't know the military capabilities of Japan. We didn't know very much about the dangers of nuclear energy. We only knew that if we attacked Japan, the losses (both American and Japanese) would be enormous -- perhaps greater than the Japanese losses that occurred from the bomb. And for those who have never been involved in a war, the goal is to minimize our losses and maximize the losses of the enemy. Wartime is not the time to be humane. War is not a humane activity. I believe it was General Patton who said to his troops: "Your goal is not to die for your country. Your goal is to make the other person die for his country."

We are about to enter another war which, who knows, could escalate into a world war. But that is another subject.


Ann Alden
November 1, 2002 - 05:04 am
There was a movie about the Enola Gay's crew and their dropping of the bomb which came out in 1952 and starred Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker. Above and Beyond The Love Story Behind The Billion Dollar Secret

Story of Col. Paul Tibbetts, the man who piloted the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in World War 2.

I remember seeing this movie when I was just a babe in arms!! And there were quite a few movies made about this subject, including one based on the book, "Enola Gay".

But we are discussing, "Duty" and its quite a different approach to the bomb subject. A man's discovery of why his father was so enamoured of Paul Tibbets.

November 1, 2002 - 06:56 am
I've seen TV interviews with many of our WW II veterans on the subject of the A-Bomb. Most of them used a phrase that resonated with me.

"I gave myself up for dead," man after man explained. These brave men had fought their way through Europe, but VE Day didn't promise any relief.

More than one veteran expressed this sentiment. "My unit was being shipped to Japan and I accepted that I wouldn't live through the Pacific campaign." They felt that they couldn't continue to beat the law of averages and survive through TWO major military campaigns on TWO continents.

Those vets were probably right. The Japanese were culturally geared to fight to the death and were unlikely to accept prisoners during an invasion of their homeland. Yet, this remarkable American generation of men were prepared to do their duty and fully expected to die.

Then came the A-Bomb. Miraculously, these soon-to-be dead men were able to come home to those who loved them. The issues must have been much simpler in 1945 if anyone had a loved one in the Armed Forces. A measure of the Japanese determination was that the Japanese braced themselves under the first A-Bomb at Hiroshima and prepared to fight on. They did NOT surrender until after the bombing of Nagasaki and it became clear to them that we had MORE bombs.

ROBBY, interesting point that we didn't know very much about the dangers of nuclear energy back then. Who could have imagined all of the possibilities? It wasn't even 100% clear back then that the bomb would successfully detonate, or that the crew of the Enola Gay would survive the explosion.

ANN, Paul Tibbets mentioned the Brewster idea of detonating a demonstration bomb over Japan in his book, THE TIBBETS STORY. He was against the idea on two counts. What if the bomb failed to go off? What if the Japanese shot the plane down instead of dutifully watching the demonstration?

Great posts! Please keep your opinions coming.


November 1, 2002 - 07:01 am
I was a Navy aircrewman flying out of Okinowa when the A bomb was dropped. Our squadron, which had been flying in the Pacific theatre since late 1944, was scheduled to support the invasion of the Japanese mainland. The expected casualties were estimated at between 500,000 and 1,000,000 allies and countless millions of Japanese.

Any American serviceman who was out there, or on their way to the Pacific from the U.S. or Europe, is thankful for the bomb. I haven't heard one objection from a WWII combat veteran. Seeing how the Japanese faught to the last man, and last civilian, in the later battles of Okinowa, Iwo Jima, Pelalu and Saipan, every man, women and child was willing to die to protect their homeland. We would have been living in a much different world today than the one we have enjoyed for the past 57 years.

As for this book discussion, I didn't think that Duty was particularly cohesive. It wandered too much. I enjoyed the parts about Paul Tibbets and his remaining crewmen. I finally did see the author's connection about midway through the book, when Bob Green mentioned that his father would have taken part in the invasion. If his father had been killed , there would have been no Bob Green. If I had been killed, there would have been no children and grandchildren. My friends who had landed in Normandy and faught their way through Europe wouldn't have come home either.

Add these to a million U.S. casualties and our post-war world would have been very different. Many of the objectors and revisionists would never have been born because their fathers and grandfathers would have been killed.

I read the book a few months ago, but took it from the library again and will try to follow the schedule. I do have a question. Is Paul Tibbets still living? I heard that only the two remaining crewmen mentioned in the final chapters were at their last reunion.

November 1, 2002 - 09:20 am
Wonderful wonderful points and two very searing questions in the heading. I don't know when people began to question the bomb, and I'm very interested to hear from all ages and experiences, to see IF there is a generational divide.

For my part and I was born in 1943, I don't know how else Japan could have been stopped. The Emperor considered himself divine, not exactly open to reason, a fascinating topic. A more horrendous topic might be would you do it today?

I'm looking forward to this discussion, and to hearing your thoughts.


November 1, 2002 - 10:11 am
I can remember when they dropped the first atom bomb. At that age, hardly anyone I knew had any knowledge of the utter devastation it would cause; all we could do at the time was rejoice that the war would end that much sooner. It was only much later that we became aware of the horrendous toll of human lives, and the suffering of those who survived.

Paul Tibbett knew this, and I believe that is why, as Robert Taylor (playing Tibett) said, immediately after dropping the bomb and feeling part of the aftermath, "My God, what have we done?"


Ella Gibbons
November 1, 2002 - 02:41 pm
Yes, I can see, we are all of a like mind when it came to dropping the atomic bombs on Japan, most of us are seniors and we remember the horror and the fear of it; but obviously Greene knows others, perhaps younger, that differ with us about Tibbets' mission.

Have any of you talked to young people in high school or college to get their views on the mission?


Is this true?

And in another place, he says "sometimes I think that no one really understands history."

Do you think your grandchildren understand WWII?

Obviously, Tibbets has attempted to talk to younger people and has failed.

What do you think?

Ella Gibbons
November 1, 2002 - 02:50 pm

IT IS GRATIFYING THAT YOU DO REMEMBER THE ENOLA GAY and its pilot, Paul Tibbets, who carried out the the deed that "was one of the most famous the world has ever known; (one that) will be talked about in terms of fear and awe forever."

MORTKAIL, to answer your question I don't know if Tibbets is still living or not. He wrote two books on his experiences, the latest I believe, was written in 1999 (I am getting it from my Library, had it once and it was due back). How could we find out?

November 1, 2002 - 03:23 pm
I Remember well and apprieciate that it stopped, helped stop the War. Many lives were saved is my thought. Oh the songs that were sang at that time. We put our faith in the right place. I cannot help but wonder about now.

November 1, 2002 - 04:08 pm
Ella, you might want to check out this link: It's Paul Tibbets own website, and I couldn't find any notice of his death, but it may be outdated now.



robert b. iadeluca
November 1, 2002 - 04:12 pm
From that website, it seems that Tibbetts will be in Ginny's state on Veterans Day.


November 1, 2002 - 04:16 pm
I read the book awhile back and was astounded it never answered the obvious question----what on earth did around 1800 men train for many months when the only difference in this bombing mission from all the others was that it carried an atom bom?.

What did the training consist of that was different?

After a year and a half in Europe I was in Germany when the bomb dropped waiting to see if we got to go home first or went directly to the Pacific. We all were depressed thinking that we would be "old men" of 25, 26 or even 27 years old before we would ever see our families again.


Yes, I think it is a generational thing about the dropping of the bomb.

Ella Gibbons
November 1, 2002 - 08:14 pm
LORRIE! Thanks so much for that website - gollee! I had no idea that this 88-year old man was still making personal appearances!

WOW! ROBBY - something for you to shoot for! hahaha He has you beat by how many years?

SELDOM - thanks for your post! You were not alone in thinking it would be a long while before you saw home again; my husband and thousands of others were waiting in the S. Pacific thinking the same thing.

If you can get a copy of Paul Tibbets' book - "THE RETURN OF THE ENOLA GAY" - at your library he goes into great detail of why the 1800 men were needed and the extensive training that went into this bombing mission. PLEASE GET IT IF YOU CAN, IT'S A GOOD BOOK AND WILL ANSWER ALL YOUR QUESTIONS!

That web site still has me bewildered - I would not have thought Tibbets was still appearing and signing his books! Bob Greene found it very difficult to interview him as his hearing was so very bad; he had to get into his face practically to talk to him. But you can sign books without talking I'm sure!

His signed books, so I am told, are worth quite a bit of money - a good investment if he comes into your neighborhood!

I notice that some of you, probably all of you, have read or are reading books about the bombing mission, its consequences, etc. You might bring them to our attention as we go along.

I have one I am starting now titled "EMBRACING DEFEAT" by John Dower: Japan in the Wake of WWII, and I want to quote just a couple of statements:

For Americans, WWII began in December 1941 and ended 3 years and 8 months later. Japan's war, in contrast, began with the conquest of Manchuria in 1931 and expanded to all-out war against China in 1937. The Japanese had been geared for war for 15 years; and as their situation became increasingly desperate, what had begun as the indoctrination of young men for death in battle became expanded into a frenetic and fanatical campaign to socialize the entire population for a final suicidal fight. The "hundred million" would die defending the sacred homeland, just as selfless young kamikaze pilots were doing."

The book goes on to tell of the relief (all of them had planned to die for their country) when the surrender came and of the conditions of the Japanese under occupation.

Ella Gibbons
November 1, 2002 - 08:27 pm
Just reading your posts over, I notice Ann is reading a book about the bomb - what is the name of it Ann? Whoever the author is he was right when he said the bomb had a great psychological effect on the inhabitants in many different ways; not only did it force the surrender of the country but it was a beginning for the Japanese people, a starting-over effect that may never had occurred but for the bomb.

Has anyone wondered how and why Japan became an economic and political world leader in such a short time after the war? My husband, who had fought the enemy, would not, and still will not if he knows of it, buy a Japanese product; however, their products are on a par with our own and often better. Amazing isn't it?

And can we compare this to Germany?

November 1, 2002 - 10:26 pm
There's one thing I'm confused about, and perhaps some of you people can enlighten me. Wasn't there another bomb dropped? On Nagasaki? Am i wrong? If not, then it seems odd to me that we seldom read about the other city. It seemed like Hiroshima was all that was heard. It's so long ago my memory plays tricks.


November 1, 2002 - 11:34 pm
Yes. It was dropped on Nagasaki a few days after Hiroshima.

robert b. iadeluca
November 2, 2002 - 04:19 am
Ella:--I am a mere 82. But watching the older folks and learning.


Ella Gibbons
November 2, 2002 - 06:41 am
Thanks, SELDOM, for answering Lorrie's question. Tibbets, in his book, "THE RETURN OF THE ENOLA GAY," discusses this issue also. The book should be in my hands either today or tomorrow and then I can quote from it.

ANN - by any chance do you have Tibbets' book from the Library?

ROBBY - you're doing very well, but you must write a book and go on a signing tour to make REAL MONEY! Start with the story of your life, what you have told us over the years is fascinating material. I remember it all.


robert b. iadeluca
November 2, 2002 - 06:48 am
Ella:--About five years ago, I felt a desire to write about my childhood. What I thought would be a few pages turned into about 250 double-spaced pages. I decided to end my "childhood" at age 21. However, that was the year I enlisted in the Army and the next thing I knew I wrote about 250 pages on my "war years." That was fine except that while in France I met my future wife so I found myself writing about my "marriage" which became over 500 double-spaced pages.

None of this is for publication but so much has happened to me in the last decade or so, I feel the urge coming upon me to write again. If only I had the time away from my full-time private practice and my community activities. Maybe I'll do that when I hit 90.


Ella Gibbons
November 2, 2002 - 07:01 am
Why wait Robby? Take what you have to an editor, if you can find one, or an agent? You can always have Vol.I and Vol. II - and, of course, Vol III might be finished later as I expect you to live on, at least till you reach 120 years. Do it as WWII seems to be very popular at the moment; if you wait much longer it may be forgotten.

I failed to mention that Harriet mentioned a book titled "THE TIBBETS STORY" by Brewster. Thanks, HARRIET! We have loads of other material here about this event in history.

Also, GINNY, asked a question - would we drop a bomb again? Let's think about that. And, GINNY, do notice the new link in the heading and the fact that Paul Tibbets is coming your way soon and you can make a few hundred extra dollars if you buy his book and get it signed.

later, Ella

November 2, 2002 - 09:42 am
Oh I do see he'll be in Lexington on the 11th, Ella, I'll tell my oldest son, he might be interested in meeting him, in fact I'll tell both my boys about that.

I will, alas, be at the beach on the 11th, so I will not be able to see him.

Where can we find some young people to ask about the bomb? I'll ask both of my sons! And my DIL tomorrow at lunch!


robert b. iadeluca
November 2, 2002 - 12:25 pm
As I said, Ginny, none of this writing is for publication. It is private and for any members of my family who some years from now "might" be interested. And, of course, the process of writing it was therapy for me.


November 2, 2002 - 03:18 pm
Someone, was it LORRIE, mentioned the "My God, what have we done!" quote from the movie, "Above and Beyond." Here, from his book, The TIBBETS STORY, is General Tibbet's own description of what was said in the Enola Gay after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

"If Dante had been with us in the plane, he would have been terrified! The city we had seen so clearly in the sunlight a few minutes before was now an ugly smudge. It had completely disappeared under this awful blanket of smoke and fire.

A feeling of shock and horror swept over all of us.

"My God!" Lewis wrote as the final entry in his log.

He was later quoted as having said, "My God, what have we done?" These words were put in MY mouth by the authors of the movie script for "Above and Beyond." Whatever exclamations may have actually passed our lips at this historic moment, I cannot accurately remember."

Actually, although Tibbets concedes being appalled, much of his discussion about his mission centers on the fact that the A-bomb drop was EXACTLY on target and took place within 17 seconds of the time specified in his plans. He was a military man and a perfectionist who felt it a matter of honor to carry out his mission and his orders in an exact manner.

As to the question of a generation gap dividing people on the morality of the A-bomb being dropped, I see a DIFFERENT kind of gap. I wonder if the true dividing line between people is not age, but their life experiences related to the WW II. I would think that one group, those that approve of the A-Bomb, consists of veterans who saw combat in WW II along with their family members who waited anxiously for their safe return. The second group may well consist of Americans who didn't suffer any personal losses as a result of WW II. Abstract moral judgements and sympathy for enemies are easier to maintain when we haven't experienced the death or maiming of a person who is special to us? There are people in EVERY age group, including seniors, to whom WWII has become long-ago history if they didn't suffer any human losses.

Another example of how life experiences can be a dividing factor: it has been said that Germans, as VE day approached, always preferred to surrender to Americans as opposed to Russians, Brits, etc. Our troops, who had never had to fight a brutal enemy on American streets tended to be less vengeful than their Russian counterparts who may have defended their own home and families during the German invasion of Stalingrad.


November 2, 2002 - 04:36 pm

In your last post you said, "Abstract moral judgements and sympathy for enemies are easier to maintain when we haven't experienced the death or maiming of a person who is special to us? There are people in EVERY age group, including seniors, to whom WWII has become long-ago history if they didn't suffer any human losses.

I agree wholeheartedly, and I believe it's true that the gut-feelings of relief for most of us who were actually involved in grieving for fallen casualties, or sharing anguish over missing sons, daughters, brothers, and fathers were the predominant feelings at the time.

Funny you should mention how the German soldiers were more anxious to be taken prisoners by the Americans. My brother, who had been involved in the Battle of the Bulge, said later that when his outfit was stopped at the Elbe, they could hear the Russians across the river, and he said the sounds that they heard were not pleasant. It was rumored that an agreement had been made that the Soviet troops could be the first to enter Berlin. How true this was, I don't know.


robert b. iadeluca
November 2, 2002 - 05:03 pm
Yes, this was true. The allied troops in my outfit were held up at the Elbe river so the Russians could enter Berlin. I remember hearing Russian being spoken over the walkie-talkies.


Traude S
November 2, 2002 - 07:49 pm

I'm limping in late, briefly and under the weather. But I had to come in to express my admiration for Bob Greene, a gifted writer : just check out e.g. his Be True to Your School or Once upon a Time to begin with. I guarantee you will be uplifted.

Re question # 2 : In the book before us, Bob Greene shows us the concept and meaning as well as the execution of Duty, , and by linking Paul Tibbets, the legend, to his own father, the author has made the legend comprehensible and accessible for us all in a moving tribute to both men.

November 2, 2002 - 08:47 pm
Welcome TRAUDE. That was so beautifully said and I agree completely. If Bob Greene had written DUTY solely about Tibbets or only about his father, it would have carried a different and far less emotional connotation.

It seems to me that he honors both of his subjects when he links them. When Greene writes about Tibbets, the respect and admiration he felt for his father carries over into his relationship with General Tibbets. Even though his writing approach is personal and filled with affection, it enhances rather than diminishes Tibbet's legend. Perhaps one of the reasons Greene appreciated a man like Paul Tibbets was because he loved his father.

Greene's admiration for Tibbets as a soldier and patriot carries over to his own father as well. How could he not feel that way? The similarity between Tibbet's viewpoints and those of his father about duty and honor may have helped this particular son to express his feelings for his father more easily.


Ann Alden
November 3, 2002 - 06:33 am
What a wonderful tribute and explanation of Greene's book, Harriet. I believe you have definitely hit on the tone of the book and his reason for combining the two men.

Ella, the book that I am reading is not just about the bomb. Its:"Truman"!! Here is a site about the history of atomic power. Atomic Bomb Trinity Very interesting paragraph there, about the Japanese considering making an atomic bomb of their own and of Germany(after they have been defeated) sending arms to Japan and uranium. Thank goodness,we captured that ship.

Robby, I see that you are planning on giving your memoirs to your children. Our author here, Bob Greene and his sister have two books out for us seniors. They are suggestions on how and what to write for your children and grandchildren. Our writing class at the senior center here has been spending the last year doing just this and we are all having a good time. We have drawn a few more members just because we doing this project. When we finish, we plan on making our "books" into a keepsake or keepsakes for our progeny. It is my firm belief that We all have a story to tell!. It is such fun to hear about someone else's life. We choose a topic each week and come back to class to read our stories. Very enjoyable. I found these two books by the Greenes in our B&N bookstore. Phyllis Greene's book is also there, printed in a similar format and having a very similar book cover. They have them displayed on the same table along with other books by the family.

And, Ella, I don't have that other book, "Enola Gay" Is there only one copy? Did you know that there was a TV movie made about the incident in 1980? "Enola Gay::the Men, the Mission, the Atomic Bomb". Written by two crew members, Gordon Thomas and Max Gordon Witts? Is about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the effect it has had on their lives. Its available(for sale) at the Blockbuster site here online.

Ella Gibbons
November 3, 2002 - 08:55 am
Thank you all for these wonderful posts! it's gratifying that you are interested in this book

BUT WHERE ARE MORTKAIL AND SELDOM? I would love to hear from you about your war memories and ideas about this book! We need our veterans here.

Harriet made the comment that "There are people in EVERY age group, including seniors, to whom WWII has become long-ago history if they didn't suffer any human losses." Do you think, Harriet, that anyone who lived during those years of WWII can forget them? We didn't suffer any losses in my family due to the war, although I had two BIL's and my husband in the service then; however every Veterans' Day and several times throughout the year their minds go back to those years and the stories come!

They are not told as being the most "indelible and meaningful moments" of their lives; rather they remember the experiences and the lives of their friends who were killed. The remembrances always come and at unexpected times.

I contend that until the generation of WWII veterans have passed completely, that war will not be forgotten - the "GOOD WAR" as Studs Terkel called it - "THE GREATEST GENERATION" as Brokaw named them.

ANN - Isn't the Greene family productive in their writing skills! Marvelous! And B&N has all their books displayed on the same table? They are our local celebrities, all from our very own city! Our branch's copy is out but they have quite a few and are sending me one.

As to Phyllis Greene's book "IT MUST HAVE BEEN MOONGLOW" I bought it but gave it to my sister, who gave it to a friend who lost her husband and I'm buying a second copy to give to my sister, who recently lost her husband.

Thanks for that wonderful post, Ann!

And also to TRAUDE for her remark that the book is a " a moving tribute to both men" Indeed it is - Greene, by relating to his dying father, makes several points which we will discuss later; however, our author brings to this two-veteran concept a personal viewpoint that we can relate to, both as a son who wishes he had more time with his father to discuss the war and with a veteran still living with whom he can. Sorry you are ill, get well soon.

HARRIET made an excellent point, to which ROBBY agreed, that "Our troops, who had never had to fight a brutal enemy on American streets tended to be less vengeful than their Russian counterparts who may have defended their own home and families during the German invasion of Stalingrad.

Pray God that American soil will not harbor enemies fighting ever again; on two occasions, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, that has happened! Enough.

In my viewpoint Greene personalized veterans in drawing for us the picture of the two veterans. Had the book only been about Tibbets, wouldn't it have been very factual? However, the addition of his father's story and the love shown by a son who never could verbalize that love brought a dimension that would have been lacking otherwise. Many of us have never been able to say the words we are thinking toward our loved ones in their life and regret it later - it's human!

Does Tibbets come alive for you in this book as a person or do you relate better to Greene's father?

Which would be easier to talk to - Tibbets or Greene, Senior?

November 3, 2002 - 10:53 am
I have promised Ella that I will drop in from time to time, and add anything I can that seems relevant. So far, all of your posts have been so"right on"and have so well captured the meaning of Duty that whatever I would add would be superfluous. Writing seems to be in the blood of our family... or maybe the Columbus water! I am happy to hear about the memoir writing group who are using To our Childrens Children as a guide. Preserving our family history for generations to come is important beyond imagining. Phyllis Greene

robert b. iadeluca
November 3, 2002 - 11:18 am
Nice to have you with us, Phyllis. However, I should add that although I may be writing for my children and their children, they don't seem to be too interested at the moment. Too much ancient history for them!


Ella Gibbons
November 3, 2002 - 11:50 am

The secret is "Columbus water!" Hahahahaha

Robby, it is important! Maybe not this instant to your children; perhaps not until you are dead, sorry to say. But they will! We just had a memorial service for my sister's husband and I can't begin to tell you how his children pored over everything, every hobby he had, every picture, (tearfully) knowing they could not ever ask him about them. He was a computer nerd and one of his children took his old computer home so he would have time to look at everything his Dad had on it!

Precious memories! Write that "third" volume - the war years! Add to the history of those years!

Ella Gibbons
November 3, 2002 - 11:51 am

November 3, 2002 - 12:02 pm
I wonder if I might respectfully ask a trivial question of Ms. Greene?

At one time my husband and I lived in the Chicago area, and would read your son's column quite frequently. I seem to remember that at the time, Bob would often mention "the bag man," presumably at the grocery store where he shopped. If I remember correctly, your son would quote remarks supposedly made by this person. I found it very entertaining, and I always felt touches like this made that column stand out above others. Am I remembering correctly?


November 3, 2002 - 01:13 pm
Phyllis, it's great to 'see' you here. I just read Duty and found it difficult to put down. Bob did a masterful job. I had hoped to join in this discussion but must opt out. I have just returned from Montana where we buried my youngest brother. I am exhausted, unable to concentrate on writing, and have many loose ends to tie up related to his death.

Am I the only one who is seeing this page centered, rather than blocked left? It is very disconcerting.


November 3, 2002 - 01:29 pm
Welcome, Phyllis!

I'm behind in the questions but am bringing as requested some young viewpoints (generational gsp) on the issue of the dropping of the bomb, my Daughter in Law (early 30's ) says yes they should have dropped it.

My oldest son (mid 30's military background) says they only had 2 bombs, and that if it had been him he would have dropped one first in the ...harbor? not sure what he said Tokyo bay because it was so powerful it would have brought them to surrender, he believes and the loss of life of noncombattants would have been less.

My youngest (late 20's) says absolutely it should have been dropped and cited retaliation for Pearl Harbor (which my DIL also said) and show of force to the Russians.

These honest responses in answer to the previous question Ella raised on how can we find some young people to see if there IS a generation gap in thinking should the bomb have been dropped?


November 3, 2002 - 04:01 pm
ELLA! I found my copy of "Duty"and will be staying on in the discussion, fortunately. I do hope we hear from some more veterans of that war.

GINNY: Those view points of your DIL and sons are very interesting. Not what i would have expected. The thought of a deterrent to the Soviets is one that hadn't occurred to me.


Ann Alden
November 3, 2002 - 04:19 pm

Its so good that you have dropped by and are reading along with us what I considered a throughly readable and enjoyable book about a son and his love for his dad. What a tribute!

Lorrie, the thought of the bomb being a deterent to the Russians was another reason we wanted to drop it as you will read in the history of atomic power which I think I put a link to earlier.

Robby, its amazing, but just today, I was telling my granddaughter in Portland,OR about the writing of our memoirs and she said, "Oh, goody, I can't wait to read it! She knows that she is in it, doesn't she! Hahaha!

Ginny, I was surprised with your sons and dil's answers to your question about the bomb. I think the generation that doesn't agree with the bombing is the 60's and 70's set especially those who went to Woodstock!

I actually spent hours watching Brian Lamb interview George Will on BookTV on CSpan. Quite a good interview. Will is so articulate and thinks things through so well. Did anyone else see it? Its being repeated at 5pm and 11pmEDT tonight.

robert b. iadeluca
November 3, 2002 - 04:43 pm
My children and grandchildren weren't alive yet in the time of which I wrote so they knew they weren't in it.


November 3, 2002 - 08:49 pm
Ginny I took your invitation from the Veterans site and dropped in. One of your Q's was "when did our country first start to question...etc?" In my humble opinion, it is the result of what has become known as "the Oprahization of America". Why can't we all just get along? In addition, there has been a concerted effort to rewrite history not only here but also in Japan. Those of us who are old enough to remember the rape of Nanking (sp) by Japan, which preceeded Pearl Harbor,don't have to question the decision to drop the bomb.Having viewed the carnage at Pearl first hand (our ship was lucky to have been out of port on Dec7th) I know that President Truman is one of our greatest presidents ever. I probably will not read the book. They started it, we did our Duty and finished it. No apology should be expected. John

November 4, 2002 - 08:33 am
MaggieG ..Am I the only one who is seeing this page centered, rather than blocked left? It is very disconcerting.

Are you still seeing the page centered... If so write me and give the name and version of you browser... It maybe that we need to change something to accomdate your browser.

November 4, 2002 - 08:59 am
First of all.. Maggie, I was so sad to hear of your brother'sdeath and send you fond and sincere sympathy. Know that I grieve with you. And Traude, I was touched to know that you checked in even though you didn't feel well, and I do hope that you are better! Lorrie, the columns of Bob you referred to were about a fictional,funny, laid-back young man who bagged groceries at Treasure Island, which was, I think, a real Chicago grocery. His name was Mike Holliday, and there were many references to Chicago politicians and sports teams. Bob and Paul Galloway wrote a play based on the columns called Bagtime, and it ran at the theater that is in (or near) the Watertower, probably in the late '70s or early 80's.

Ella Gibbons
November 4, 2002 - 09:44 am
LORRIE –. We’re so happy you have the book and will be us!

MAGGIE - So sorry for the loss of your brother; my sister’s husband just died a few days ago and the Memorial Service was held two days ago. We are all at an age where family members are going to be suffering. I hope we can get your problem with the page corrected. Pat is an expert (although she wouldn’t agree with me! haha) – please email her when you are rested.

Many thanks to GINNY who carried our question to younger members of her family; the possibility of putting on an exhibition of the atomic bomb in the ocean was discussed at the time I believe – and didn’t they drop leaflets in Japan?

At one time, I argued an hour with a young college student, a junior I think, who believed that the Cold War and weapons buildup were government propagands and we fell for it! Whew! The cynicism of the young is frightening at times.


ANN – I watched George Will, also! TV at its best!

JOHN – a wonderful post. THANK YOU! I would like to know more about the “"the Oprahization of America" – an interesting theory! And, as you succinctly stated about the atomic bomb – “They started it, we did our Duty and finished it.” PLEASE STAY WITH US, WE NEED VETERANS’ OPINIONS!

GOOD MORNING PHYLLIS! Thanks for posting and answering our questions.


November 4, 2002 - 11:44 am
PAT - The page is no longer centered. Thanks for the fix.

PHYLLIS and ELLA - Thank you for your kind words. My brother was only 58, so his death was quite a shock. I'm so sorry about the loss of your brother-in-law, Ella. You and your sister have my sincere sympathy.


Bill H
November 4, 2002 - 11:45 am
Johnf,in regard to dropping the atom bomb, the following two excerpts taken from David McCullough's biography Truman may be of interest to you and other readers who are enjoying this discussion
..."We regard the matter of dropping the bomb as an exceedingly important." General Marshal later explained. "We had just been through a bitter experience at Okinawa. This had been preceded by a number of similar experiences in other Pacific Islands. (The first day of the invasion of Iwo Jima had been more costly than D-Day at Normandy....The Japanese had demonstrated in each case they would not surrender and they fight to the death.... It was to be expected that resistance in Japan, with their home ties, could be even more severe. We had had one hundred thousand people killed in Tokyo in one night of bombs, and it had seemingly no effect whatsoever. It destroyed the Japanese cities, yes, but their morale was affected so far as we could tell, not at all. So it seemed quite necessary, if we could, shock them into action....We had to end the war, we had to save American lives."

Other decisions that influenced Truman to drop the bomb:

"Truman had earlier authorized the Chiefs of Staff to move more than 1 million troops for a final attack on Japan, Thirty divisions were on the way to the pacific from the European Theater, from one end of the world to the other, something never done before. Supplies in tremendous quantity were piling up on Saipan. Japan had some 2.5 million regular troops on the home islands, but every male between the ages of fifteen and sixty, every female from seventeen to forty-five, was being conscripted and armed with everything from ancient brass cannon to bamboo spears, taught to strap explosives to their bodies and throw themselves under advancing tanks. One woman would remember being given a carpenter's awl and instructed that killing just one American would do. "You must aim at the abdomen," she was told "Understand? The abdomen." To no one with the American and Allied forces in the Pacific did it look as though the Japanese were about to quit.

Truman foresaw unprecedented carnage in anattempted invasion. 'It occured to me,' he would remark a few months later 'that a quarter of a million of the flower of our young manhood were worth a couple Japanese cities and I still think they were and are.'

In regards to saving the lives of young American soldiers, I'll let you folks be the judge if dropping the bomb was right or wrong. Harry Truman's first responsibility was ending the war and saving the lives of as many American military personnel as possible As John F said. "They started it." I say: we finished it.

Bill H

Ella Gibbons
November 4, 2002 - 12:08 pm
Thanks, Maggie! I hope you are getting rested and a brother, only 58, would be a shock indeed. So sorry!

Thank you, Bill, for the post! Bill has a wonderful discussion in progress of TRUMAN ~ by David McCullough ~ Biography" 10/7/02 10:49am">

I just picked up Paul Tibbets' book and will quote from it now and then and answer the question about why 1800 personnel were needed to get the atomic bomb in the air.

However, I turned to the page where Tibbets is describing his experience with flying Patton's private plane around and he says that Patton was told the secret of the atomic bomb for two reasons: 1) the military wanted Patton to find out the development by the Germans of atomic weapons (they were far behind); and 2) realizing Patton was an excellent strategist they wanted his help in planning the invasion of Japan. He was instantly aware that if the atomic project was successful there would be no such invasion.

And Tibbets also flew Eisenhower under strange circumstances! Quoting from Greene's book:

""Simple.......Dwight D. Eisenhower had to get to the war, and Tibbets gave him a ride"

All this from a kid who tied parachutes around Babe Ruth candy bars and dropped them from a plane when he was 12 years old!

later, ella

Ella Gibbons
November 4, 2002 - 12:20 pm
Is everyone aware of the questions that I put up in the heading everyday? You may not have noticed them as our headers are full of information, so I will repeat them here:

1) Isn't it hilarious to read that sometimes Tibbets is asked why he did not tell his superiors that he didn't want to drop the bomb? Can anyone be so naive as to believe that a person in any branch of service could question an order?

2) Have you ever heard anyone say that we would never have dropped the bomb on Germany but had no hesitation when it came to Japan? Is this a racist remark or is it because Japan attacked us? (page 20)

Traude S
November 4, 2002 - 12:35 pm

may I extend my condolences to you on the loss of your brother.

It is only natural that Americans who served in either the Pacific or the European Theater and were "in the thick of it" should feel much more personally charged and affected than subsequent generations who had no such personal experience and view history through a different lense.

To question 1 I would reply that it is inconceivable to disobey a military order. However, the fact that General Tibbets had private questions or concerns about his role in bringing about such unprecedented devastation shows his moral integrity. As a pacifist that makes me grateful. Even so he did his duty.

I don't know about Ophraization, I am not a disciple, and I don't follow the herd. But as for "why can't we all get along", which I believe was uttered by Rodney King in LA a few years ago, I fear there is no such thing on the horizon.

As for question 2, no, I have never heard that. Germany of course was very neatly brought to her knees by just "regular" bombing, which was quite effective. I remember it well because I was there.

November 4, 2002 - 12:47 pm

Yes, I too am intrigued. Tell us more about the "Oprahization of America!"


Ella Gibbons
November 4, 2002 - 12:50 pm
HELLO TRAUDE: (Hurriedly) Paul Tibbets had very few concerns about dropping the bomb - it was an order, he obeyed. Bob Greene asked him many questions concerning his feelings and this one answer will do for now.
"He told me that he had never lost a night's sleep in all the years since his crew dropped the bomb - I sleep just fine - and if anything upsets him, it is that some people still consider the use of the atomic bomb as an unnecessarily barbaric act.......I sleep so well because I know how many people got to live full lives because of what we did!"

Another sentence -
"Please try to understand this. It's not an easy thing to hear, but please listen. There is no morality in warfare. You kill children. You kill women. You kill old men. You don't seek them out, but they die. That's what happens in war."

Could go on with more quotes, but must leave.....

This is more or less what Robby said earlier in a post.

November 4, 2002 - 01:00 pm
Ella, and Harriet:

The page where you got your question above, (p. 20) has one of the most intense statements I've read so far in this book. Please read paragraphs 3 and 4, Tibbets' response to Bob's question about the number of casualties suffered then.

I was impressed by his candor, and somehow his personal feelings were evident, but one felt as sense of integrity in a man who could follow the orders he was given, his "Duty", in order to ensure that there would be no more like it. I didn't really think I would, but I feel a respect for Colonel Tibbets. I'm glad i am reading thie book.


Bill H
November 4, 2002 - 03:39 pm
Ella, thank you for the link to the Truman discussion. David McCullough discusses the decision of dropping very well in that biography.

Bill H

Ann Alden
November 5, 2002 - 07:25 am
Yes, anyone in here who wants to see how well the Truman book discusses the bomb, take a look into Ella's link. These two discussions are on the same track but Truman will go on from there so the pages on the bomb are not that long.

Ella, I am enjoying the book once more, its my second reading.

Maggie, so sorry to hear of your brother's death at 58. My husband lost his 56 year old brother, totally unexpected, two years ago. Its such a shock when they are so young! My heart goes out to you.

November 5, 2002 - 07:31 am
Thank you Ella, Traude and Ann for your concern and understanding. It means a lot to me.


Ella Gibbons
November 5, 2002 - 05:46 pm

Thanks for your posts, everyone. Ann, I agree you get much more out of a book the second time around, more thoughts about what the author is attempting to tell us, the manner in which the book is written, the style, the theme, etc.

And speaking of Truman, he invited Tibbets to the White House right after the war for a little visit, a cup of coffee. It was the only recognition he received officially for doing the job right. Should he have received more? He received an order, and it was obeyed.

I am putting two new questions in the heading tonight for your consideration:

1. Do you agree with Tibbets that a secret mission of a new weapon could not be kept from the public today?

2. Were you surprised at the cyanide pills given to the crew? In what other circumstances might these "suicide pills" be given to service personnel?

This is such a good book, so many questions come to mind but we will run out of time before we can discuss them all.

A promise made is a promise kept. 1800 personnel at Wendover, Utah commanded by Tibbets consisted of:

Construction crews for personnel, runways, housing for families
393 Bomb Squadron, - flight and ground crews for 15 B-29's
Key personnel people recommended - bombardiers, co-pilot, navigator, radar specialists, etc.
security organization attached to our group by the Manhattan district
wives and children of married men
key scientific people - civilian scientists

Did you smile as I did when Tibbets told Greene that at age 29 he was so confident (after working his way through the war in Europe and North Africa) that he could put together this atomic-bomb unit, a small corporation actually, a self-supporting one, because "I didn't have anyone who I had to ask what I had to do. I just did it."

Is the confidence due to his youth? Experience?

That was a tremendous task he was given; after years of experiments with atomic energy, the millions of dollars of work of experts putting together this bomb - experts who weren't sure the bomb would explode - this one man, Tibbets, is to make it happen? He's confident! No doubts?

And he smoked all the time - even in the plane that was carrying the atomic bomb! As Greene said, this man wouldn't be allowed on any of our passenger planes today, "a small example of how the world has evolved."

November 6, 2002 - 07:27 am
I'm enjoying the book, I think I'll give it to my sons, the information on Tibbets is interesting, did you know he lived that close to you, Ella? Never realized the name of the plane was his mother’s.

I am disappointed there are no photos in the book, I would liked to have seen some of the people involved.

A 9,000 pound bomb, plus, I never considered the "kick," they might all have been killed!

I think some of the writing is quite poignant and meaningful. It's easy to read. I admit to reading it in a hurry after a stint at the Polls yesterday, was there any clear indication of why he particularly wanted to see Tibbets at that particular time (when his father was so ill?)

He was surprised by Tibbets appearance, I wonder what he had expected? Larger than life I expect, it opens up quite a field of thought on fame and what it does to not only us, but those whom it touches, to me.


Ann Alden
November 6, 2002 - 08:42 am
Ella, no I don't agree that a secret about a new weapon couldn't be kept. Its done on a regular basis in all governments across the world. And, some things, I don't want to know!!

According to what was put about after the war, cyanide pills were commonly given to spies so why not a crew who might have to bail out over Japan. They certainly would have dreaded coming down to the Japanese at that time. The country was not kind! And, it was a person's decision whether to use it or not, wasn't it? Surely, the government couldn't order you to kill yourself!

Ginny, if you go to Tibbet's homepage which is linked above, there are a plethora of pictures concerning the bomb and the crew and Tibbets.

November 6, 2002 - 09:40 am
It surprised me that the crew were given cyanide pills, because I always thought American prisoners would never opt for that, but on second thought I could see why it was so essential to keep the secrecy of that mission intact. It was done commonly in Germany---didn't some of the War Crimes prisoners take cyanide rather than face trial?

As to keeping the mission under wraps, yes, I think that secret could be kept in this present age, temporarily, at least. And, as Ann says, it's done all over the world in various governments.


Ella Gibbons
November 6, 2002 - 02:35 pm
Ginny, interesting point about fame and what it does to us; never having known it how would most of us feel about it? We’ve all read books about famous people, some can manage it, some run from it and some cannot handle it all. Obviously, Tibbets went private, never giving interviews. Yes, I knew he lived around here somewhere – he became an executive with a local co-op plane. Corporations would all pay $$$$$$ for a portion of the plane and use it rather than buying their own; I think it’s been a successful business.

Why did Greene pick this particular time to interview Tibbets? I think he was staying at his parents’ home for a prolonged visit as his father was so ill and with time to spare a writer looks around for something to occupy his mind, don’t you think? Also he remembered his father talking about Tibbets – rather in awe of the man I thought.

Thanks, Ann, for your great post and, as Lorrie agrees (and I do also) that we could keep a new weapon under wraps today, I have to wonder why Tibbetts didn’t believe it was possible. Perhaps he thought that because of the enormous resources that went into the atomic bombs; the various places where the experiments were ongoing, the monies expended by the government. Wouldn’t you like to ask him the question?

Well, Ginny, give the book to the son that can meet with Tibbets in Lexington, S.C. and maybe we can get the question answered. Perhaps he should write the question and hand it to him as Greene remarks that he is quite deaf.

Harriet, before she left on a week’s trip, sent me the following prices of Tibbets’ books – it might pay us all to find copies – and your son, Ginny, could certainly be reimbursed for his trip to Lexington if he could get a signature on a book. Will Tibbets have his books for sale there? I would imagine – take a look at these prices!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Return of the Enola Gay. Author: Tibbets, Paul W. Condition: Illus. Columbus, OH 1998 H Hard Cover F First Edition J Near Fine jacket. Near Fine 8 vo Dj in mylar; 339 pages Signed: I Signed by Author. Format: Hardcover / First Edition / Dust Jacket / Signed Associated Dealer: 84 Charing Cross Bookstore Our Price: $186.44 More Info...

RETURN OF THE ENOLA GAY Author: Tibbets, Paul W Condition: Columbus, First edition, octavo. 331pp +index, illustrated. A fine copy in dj. Signed by Tibbets Format: Hardcover / First Edition / Dust Jacket Associated Dealer: Old New York Book Shop, ABAA Our Price: $257.30

Here's some B&N listings for FLIGHT OF THE ENOLA GAY.

Flight of the Enola Gay Author: TIBBETS, PAUL Condition: FINE wraps (paperback). SIGNED under his photo @ book's front. Photo is of Tibbets & his navigator & bombadier. Over their picture he inscribes "To Jack Wright, with best wishes". Tibbets' inscription & signature clear & sharp, no hesitation or over writing. In blue ink, likely from a fountain pen. A paperback that was likely never read as spine is perfectly smooth & flat; furthur, neither upper nor lower gutter line shows faintest hint of a "reader's crease". Corners of book prefectly square, BUT: upper, front, tip & first few pages were lightly folded. Small price sticker from Smithsonian Museum Shops on back cover. 1st edition. Format: Paperback / First Edition Associated Dealer: Quiet Friends Our Price: $511.30 More Info...

Flight of the Enola Gay Author: Tibbets, Paul W., Illustrated by 10 pages b/w illustrations. Condition: Paperback. 1st Printing. Inscribed "Paul W. Tibbets / 9-24-91" in blueink. Fine Format: Paperback / First Edition / Signed Associated Dealer: Legends In History Our Price: $638.30 More Info...

Ella Gibbons
November 6, 2002 - 02:39 pm
Flight of the Enola Gay was the first he wrote, I believe, in 1989 - but some of those prices are for PAPERBACKS! EXTRAORDINARY!

November 6, 2002 - 03:08 pm
Ella - You said:' Why did Greene pick this particular time to interview Tibbets? I think he was staying at his parents’ home for a prolonged visit as his father was so ill and with time to spare a writer looks around for something to occupy his mind, don’t you think? Also he remembered his father talking about Tibbets – rather in awe of the man I thought.'

I've returned my book to the library; but, my recollection is that as his father was dying he realized how little he knew of his war experience. Wasn't it immediately after his father's death that he sought out Tibbets...didn't even tell him mother? He was drawn to him because of his father's regard for Tibbets, and because he wanted to know more about the men who served in WWII.

Since my memory goes south on occasion, I could be way off here. Anyone else remember it this way?


Ella Gibbons
November 6, 2002 - 03:11 pm
Those cyanide pills given to the crew of the Enola Gay give me pause for I wonder why aren't all service personnel given the same? I'm thinking of Senator McCain in particular - would he have taken one while spending 5 years in a Vietnamese prison camp?

I've put questions in the heading, but I'll ask them here:

Two statements made by Greene are not clear to me; perhaps one of you can explain what the author is attempting to express here:

Displayed in his parents house is a portrait of his dad as a young soldier, painted when he was about 20 years of age. Greene says "as I looked at the portrait, with him (his father) sleeping not so many feet away-I was fifty-one. The man in uniform in the painting still seemed older than I was."

Furthermore, why didn't his father accept Greene's diploma from college? It was a son's expression of his gratitude for his father. Greene that his father's "expression was dismissive-even disdainful" at the thought of accepting the gift of his son's diploma. But when he lay dying, the diploma of his son was hanging on the wall.

Two very poignant stories! What to make of them?

Ella Gibbons
November 6, 2002 - 03:15 pm
Hello MAGGIE! We were posting together, but I'll look at the book when dinner is finished and will answer your question! Get your book back from the Library, we have 3/4ths of it yet to discuss and many ideas to ponder about.

November 6, 2002 - 03:35 pm
Bob had, indeed, been trying to get an interview with Paul Tibbetts on and off for a number of years. When he wrote and asked, Colonel Tibbetts didn't say yes or no-- he just didn't answer. And then, when Bob was here one summer, he went to the museum out near the airport that Foster Lane had been instrumental in establishing.. and wrote a column about it. It was after that that a business acquaintance of Paul Tibbetts called Bob and asked if he was going to be in Columbus anytime soon.. and it was just at the time of Bob's illness.. and Bob said he would be in Columbus often. And that is how the first interview came about and, just as is reported in the book, I didn't know about it until he came home with the autographed book for Major Greene.

November 6, 2002 - 03:40 pm
Don't we all look at photpgraphs of our parents taken when they were younger than we are now, and don't they seem older-- because they are our parents who are always older than we are.

Ella Gibbons
November 6, 2002 - 05:32 pm
THANKS, PHYLLIS, for answering that question so well. How did you manage in your home with two fellows named Bob? Did Bob, Junior, get a nickname as so many young boys do? My husband was named Richard Robert and got the terrible nickname of Dickie-Bob - can you imagine anything worse than that? Of course, as soon as he could impress it on adults he was called Dick.

No, I have never looked at pictures of my parents when they were young and thought they were older than portrayed. I have a picture of my father in WWI in that peculiar uniform and I don't recognize him at all.

November 7, 2002 - 12:00 am
Many previously highly secret documents on this subject are in this site;


Fascinating to explore.

Ann Alden
November 7, 2002 - 07:51 am
Paul Tibbets lives about a mile from Phyllis Greene's home.

Tibbets actually started Executive Jet here in Columbus and was very successful! I used to go to the bank at the same time he did on Fridays back in the 80's. I was removing money while he was increasing his account, I am sure!!

Yes, Ella, I thought obout McCain,too when they referred to the cyanide pills. Can the government insist that you use one? Hmmmmm?

As to the picture of Bob's dad seeming to be older, I do understand what he is talking about. Your parents are always older than you are. Does that mean that when you look at your parents in their 20's or 30's, that your mind set returns to that of a 3-yr old? Hmmmmm!

I will reread Greene's story of his father and the diploma as I don't remember what was said. Remember I am just rereading this book.

November 7, 2002 - 08:35 am
Some of the things that Bob writes about here really strike a chord in my memory. "Call For Phillip Morris," with that round-capped bellboy, was on everybody's lips, and when he writes about going to school during the depression in raggedy clothes it wasn' t too far from the truth.

May I make a suggestion? It would be very helpful if, when you are mentioning a particular passage in the book, you give the page number. I do believe most of us are reading the paperback version?


November 7, 2002 - 11:53 am
I read the book about a month ago and am not too sharp on going into specific statements and pages. But having been in the same theatre of operations,(I actually was flying an air-sea rescue mission off Japan on the day the first A bomb was dropped.) perhapse I can answer a few of the questions raised in this discussion.

First of all, as anyone who has seen any WWII spy movie knows, Allied spies dropped behind enemy lines always were given poison pills to use if they were captured. If captured, the enemy would try to torture them for information about other spies and partesans. They would be killed eventually anyway, so why not save yourself and your mates the pain.

I guess that the Anola Gay mission was so secret that crew members were advised to kill themselves if capture was imminent. Those of us who flew over enemy territory were issued side arms -- for protection, not suicide.

Someone mentioned the fact that German and Japanese leaders committed suicide with a cyanide capsul. Although many Japanese officers committed hari kari with a cerimonial knife and some German officers shot themselfs. The only high ranking prisioner that I know of who took cyanide was Herman Goering, after his conviction at Nurenberg. (I won't discuss where he hid it -- not in mixed company anyway.) I emphasize PRISIONER because those in Hitler's bunker committed suicide in many different ways.

As for pictures of parents looking older, I guess that's part of growing up. I can look at my parents' wedding picture from 1918 (when they were in their 20's) and they still seem older then I am now.

Bill H
November 7, 2002 - 04:46 pm
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette carried a story today that I feel belongs here in DUTY. It's about the nurses that served in the war, and I'm sure just about all will enjoy reading the article. You can read the story by following this link

The Forgotten Veterans

Bill H

Ella Gibbons
November 7, 2002 - 06:43 pm

SELDOM – WHAT A GREAT SITE! Think of all those people writing such carefully-worded reports and isn’t it an eye-opener to read them all! I skimmed a few but am going back and read them all! IT WOULD MAKE A GRAND DISCUSSION JUST THAT SITE ALONE AND ALL OF YOU, if you have a love of history, read that site! Here are just a few comments that I culled from those reports to whet your appetite:

”At the beginning of World War II, the bombing of civilians was regarded as a barbaric act. As the war continued, however, all sides abandoned previous restraints. But international law has always distinguished between civilians and combatants.”

<b”By and large, governments are guided by considerations of expediency rather than by moral considerations. And this, I think, is a universal law of how governments act……. Prior to the war I had the illusion that up to a point the American Government was different. This illusion was gone after Hiroshima.” - Dr. Leo Szilard

“It will be very difficult to persuade the world that a nation which was capable of secretly preparing and suddenly releasing a weapon, as indiscriminate as the rocket bomb and a thousand times more destructive, is to be trusted in its proclaimed desire of having such weapons abolished by international agreement. We have large accumulations of poison gas, but do not use them, and recent polls have shown that public opinion in this country would disapprove of such a use even if it would accelerate the winning of the Far Eastern war. It is true, that some irrational element in mass psychology makes gas poisoning more revolting that blasting by explosive, even though gas warfare is in no way more "inhuman" than the war of bombs and bullets.”

“Scientists have often before been accused of providing new weapons for the mutual destruction of nations, instead of improving their well-being. It is undoubtedly true that the discovery of flying, for example, has so far brought much more misery than enjoyment or profit to humanity”

THANK YOU SO MUCH, SELDOM! I will enjoy reading all those reports – those very secret reports – when I have more time tomorrow (and feeling better I hope – had my first ever reaction to a flu shot today! OH!)

HELLO ANN – no, I’m sure the decision as to whether you take those cyanide pills is left up to you - MORTKAIL partially answered the question as to who is given the suicide pills.

Am I correct, MORTKAIL, in stating that those most likely to be captured are given the pills (certainly those soldiers behind enemy lines would be in that category). Who else would fit that category?

Who would ever have thought that we would all look at pictures of our parents so differently? Strange!

LORRIE – thanks for that suggestion of page numbers – YES, WE WILL DO THAT, IT IS HELPFUL IN A CONVERSATION!

I underlined the Phillip Morris story in my book also – that “uniformed midget” – haha, good description! (pg.64) – the good old days when many of us smoked (including myself, loved coffee and a cigarette in the morning)

Did it strike you that both veterans in the book started out their careers giving away products? Bob Greene gave away cigarettes and Paul Tibbets gave away candy bars. Is there any parallel to that today that you can think of?

Ella Gibbons
November 7, 2002 - 06:54 pm
BILL! Thank you for that site! Dirty and heartbreaking work those nurses did and some were captured and were in prison camps also. A couple of years ago we read and discussed a great book titled "WE BAND OF ANGELS" - the story of nurses captured on Corregidor and incarcerated in a prison in Japan until the country surrendered. It's archived if you would like to read it. They are to be remembered forever for their bravery under horrendous difficulties!

Last night I wrote a letter to what I thought were all of you, but a few came back as I had incorrectly spelled your email address. Will forward it to SELDOM, MAGGIE AND JOHN tonight! Sorry.

later- ella

Ella Gibbons
November 7, 2002 - 07:17 pm
Have you all read the link in the heading about Tinian Island? Interesting! And Greene tells the story of 50 years later receiving an email from a resident on Tinian! But I knew already, before Greene, that the U.S. sold many of the vehicles used in WWII to Japan - subs, aircraft and even aircraft carriers. Years ago, a few of my husband's aircraft carrier crew tried to find what happened to their ship, a CVE - the "Altamaha "- and finally found to their dismay that it was sold to Japan. (pg.73)

Tibbets said the ideal age for him would be 45 or 50 - he had good sense then! I agree with him - What's your opinion?

November 7, 2002 - 08:34 pm
Ella Gibbons

I just corrected my e-mail address which changed last January

So if you sent a message and it was returned, click on my new one.


November 8, 2002 - 07:25 am
Hi Ella Gibbons.

In answer to your question about cyanide pills: As far as I know, cyanide pills weren't given to ordinary soldiers and airmen who might be captured by the enemy. Only those agents on top secret missions -- either dropped behind enemy lines by parachute, or spies living under cover behind enemy lines -- were given cyanide pills. If discovered and captured, they would be tortured by the enemy to learn the names and locations of other spies or paritisans. (Or in the case of the Anola Gay, to give any information they knew about the Atomic bombs.) So they were given the opportunity to commit suicide if capture was imminent.

Lots of soldiers and airmen were captured by the enemy. In general, the Germans lived up to the Geneva Convention and treated Americans and British prisioners fairly. Of course there were exceptions like the massacre of those captured in the Battle of the Bulge.

Capture by the Japanese was another story. They believed you should die before facing the humiliation of surrender and treated prisioners brutally. Some of the foot sodiers in the Pacific may have prefered suicide rather than capture. If you read what the Japanese did to marines they captured on Iwo Jima (Flags of Our Fathers) and on Pellalu and Okinowa (With the Old Bunch) you'll understand why. It's too gruesome to describe here.

November 8, 2002 - 10:49 am
I found a link to an interview that Bob Greene gave about his book, "Duty," and it contains a very good picture of the author and Col. Tibbets. Greene has some very pertinent comments to make about the book. Interesting.

Interview with Bob Greene


Ann Alden
November 8, 2002 - 02:22 pm
Somewhat cynical, Tibbets thinks that the vets who have all their memorabilia out and about are just trying to impress themselves. Actually, sometimes, I think, vets haven't put the stuff up but someone in their family has. And how strange that Tibbets was such a careful penman.(pgs.78-79) Remarks that good penmanship means a person is careful and he cares. I have always thought that people who wrote sloppy were in a hurry or didn't care, just wanted to get done. My children print as their writing is so awful. Penmanship was taught up until the late 40's or early 50's. From then on, it was do your own thing. And, it shows!

Ella Gibbons
November 8, 2002 - 03:34 pm
Thanks, SELDOM, for the new address! Couldn't understand why your letter keeps coming back, I've checked it once and checked it twice; maybe I can get it out tonight! It's not earth-shattering news, just wanted to let you all know how much I appreciate your remarks and cooperation.

MORTKAIL - I've heard and read about the Japanese treatment of prisoners also; do you think that may account for the fact that 1) we did not demonstrate the power of the bomb before we dropped it and 2) we insisted on unconditional surrender? Were there differences in our terms with Japan for surrender than with Germany?

I know you are familiar with the treatment and the details of the Bataan death march - and I think many of us are familiar with the harsh treatment the Japanese gave POW's without going into details.

more later - must go fix dinner

robert b. iadeluca
November 8, 2002 - 03:49 pm
Unconditional surrender was required in Germany as well although the GI's were more lax about it than in Japan. Allied soldiers were "prohibited" from fraternizing with Germans of all ages and gender. Sex being what it is, this was ignored and the term "fraternizing" came to mean, in the vernacular, going out that night with a German girl.


Ella Gibbons
November 8, 2002 - 05:57 pm
Thanks, Lorrie, for that site! Good interview on CNN and good picture – lots of lovely silver hair on Tibbets, plus a few wrinkles, haha! But that was just 2 years ago and he’s looking very spry isn’t he?

I’m with you all the way, Ann! Penmanship and memorabilia seem trivial subjects for a book (particularly when we just watched the news , and more ships and personnel are steaming towards what may be a war in the near future). However, being a good investigative reporter, Bob Greene, by persistent questioning is able to bring forth from an unwilling subject thoughts that the interviewee may not have revealed otherwise, do you agree?

ROBBIE - thanks for your post! Most of us know, or have forgotten the terms of surrender of Japan, although we all remember the occupation by General MacArthur. I found a couple of sites (although there are numerous ones) which may be of interest:

Terms of Surrender

Hirohito’s message

Ella Gibbons
November 8, 2002 - 06:13 pm
A new question for your consideration is in the heading but I will place it here also. Starting on Page 86 Tibbets discloses a few problems he had with the atomic bomb project.

It was necessary for Tibbets to maintain absolute secrecy during 1944 - 1945 as his atomic mission took shape. What is your opinion about the tactics of fear that Tibbets used to enforce secrecy and silence among his men of the 509th?

Ann Alden
November 9, 2002 - 07:55 am
Ella, I think he had no choice, although, from the movie, Above and Beyond,(if it can be believed) we learn that some of the men had breakdowns over the necessity of keep everything a secret, even from their life partners and family. Must have been very difficult to them.

Ella Gibbons
November 9, 2002 - 12:41 pm
For those who do not have the book, I'll quote Tibbets' book:

"It was on Dec.l7,1944, by coincidence the 41st anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight in a powered aircraft at Kitty Hawk, that the 509th Composite Group was officially activated.

Meanwhile, one of our most important tasks was related to security. It was necessary to impress upon every man as he joined our outfit that he must not discuss the nature of our operation with anyone. We put the screws on very tight. It was awkward to explain to our people that they must not talk to outsiders about our mission. They themselves were in the dark, so how could they give away information they didn't possess. .......With some we had to get tough, with the help of an efficient security organization attached to our group by the Manhattan District.......whose job it would be to infiltrate every phase of our operation and literally spy on our people to be sure there was no information leakage. We worked out a plan to monitor the mail, the phone calls and even the off-duty conversations of our men.

One of the first orders Tibbets gave was to give the men a Christmas leave and everywhere they went they were followed, spied upon, listened to by the security agents. When they came back, several had violated the rules; one particular sergeant, one of considerable ability, couldn't believe he had said much to a friendly stranger in a bar next to a bus station - but the stranger was an agent and through questions found out where he was stationed and the fact that the pilots were flying the new B-29 bombers.

"House arrest and the threat of future action were enough to throw the fear of God into just about everyone. Some suspected that I had a personal gestapo watching their every move. And this supposition came close to being true.....We read mail and monitored phone calls through the base switchboard and from pay phones on the base."

It is amazing that not one leak occurred from Tibbets outfit, although if my memory is correct several leaks occurred from Los Alamos (the Rosenbergs and wasn't there one other?)

Two billion dollars had been spent on this bomb up to this point and this was in 1944 dollars!

Bill H
November 9, 2002 - 12:52 pm
But I wonder if all those men did keep the secret. I'm sure most did, but I feel some disclosed them years later to their near and dear ones. What more tempting to tell a son about it many years later and relieve the anxiety they were feeling. How are we to know? Secrets are made to be broken.

Did any of you in this discussion have someone tell you a secret years years later of a military operation.? You don't have to go into detail just a simple Yes or No will suffice.

Bill H

Bill H
November 9, 2002 - 05:33 pm
Ella, I hope you don't mind, but I've taken the liberty of posting two pictures that are so relevant to the discussion. The first photo is the plane that Tibbets flew and, of course, the atomic blast speaks for its self.


Photo from NAIL

Photo from an article by Ben Snowden, Education Network
Bill H

Ella Gibbons
November 10, 2002 - 09:02 pm
Oh, thanks, Bill for the pictures and the posts!


P.S. That's a very young Kate Smith in the heading singing "her" song, but it still reverberates down through the years.

November 10, 2002 - 09:41 pm


November 11, 2002 - 10:36 am
I thought you might like this and some may even know him.

Bob Krauss, of Buchanan, displays memorabilia of Charles Donald Albury's flights with the atomic bombs dropped over Japan during World War II


November 11, 2002 - 11:23 am
Ella: It's been a busy weekend -- visiting grandchildren and the Veterans Day observance today (indoors because of the rain), so I'm just getting around to answering the question you asked Nov. 8 in #81.

The reason we didn't drop a demonstration bomb on Japan in order to scare them into surrendering was we only had three working A bombs. One had been tested in New Mexico, so there were only two left. If they hadn't detonated successfully over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I don't think the war would have ended until we invaded and occupied Japan.

Nice picture, Bill. I didn't think anyone could pick out the Anola Gay from the hundreds of other B29s on Tinian and Siapan. What did the big A on it's tail signify?

Lou Ann Gioffre
November 11, 2002 - 12:55 pm
I'd just like to express my heartfelt thanks to all the veterans of this great country for the great service you have done for all Americans--the very fact that I can post this message speaks volumes. Thanks fellas!

Bill H
November 11, 2002 - 03:58 pm
Ella, no one can sing that song light Kate Smith. My eyes still grow a little moist when I hear her sing it.

MortKail, I believe that may be an R on the tail of the Enola Gay and I don't know what it means. Maybe some Air Force vets can tell us. The plane was probably photographed after it returned from the bomb run. The message under the photo tells us it was photographed 08/06/1945. Here's a link to the site where I found it. Scroll about half way down the page and you'll see it.

Enola Gay

Here's another link that take you to a site that gives you photos and battles of WW One and WW 2. Believe me no veteran or anyone else that lived those times should fail to visit this site. This link is also listed in the TRUMAN heading, but some how I think it belongs here, too. BOOKMARK it you'll want to return to it many times.

Time Line

Bill H

Ella Gibbons
November 11, 2002 - 06:49 pm
Thanks, Ginger, that was interesting! There are many details of this flight that we are skipping over for lack of time and those interested should read Tibbets’ book or other books on the subject, for example, the bomb arriving and being loaded on the plane, the tragedy of the Indianapolis on its return journey from Tinian, the firing mechanism during flight, the other planes that took off ahead of the Enola Gay and their duty, the photographers’ planes, etc. In all, seven planes were involved with this mission.

EXCELLENT POINT, MORTKAIL – thanks for that information. How soon after the success of the two bombs did the government or the scientists begin making more bombs? How soon after did the hydrogen bomb appear? Today what would be the equivalent we have as an offensive weapon to drop from a plane?

LOU ANN, on behalf of the veterans' THANK YOU! Do you have the book and are you following along with us? Do post a message now and then even if you don't have the book. We'd love to hear from you.

Thanks, Bill! I searched Tibbets' book but found no reference to the "R" on the tail of the plane, although he talks about arrows on it. There is a good picture of the plane in Tibbets' book, the fuselage of which rests today in a Smithsonian warehouse in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D. C.


Greene questioned Tibbets' leadership abilities and he responded by saying "leaders can't be trained. Managers can-it is fairly easy to train a manager.....but in the military-especially in war-the difference between leaders and managers is very simple.....(it)can be the difference between life and death. Is he insinuating that leaders are born with the qualities needed and if so, do you agree?

November 12, 2002 - 07:50 am
Thanks for the great sites Bill H. The blowup of the picture of the Anola Gay two days after its historic flight does show an R. (I'll try to check what it signifies). That "Time Line" site is really informative. I just sampled it, but I'll be back many times.

Ella Gibbons, in answer to your question of the day: If leaders can't be trained, why do we spend so much on educating military leaders at West Point, Annapolis and the Air Force Academy? Of course military leaders also are excellent managers -- just look at Dwight Eisenhower and Clayton Powell. They never saw action but were vital in planning and carrying out huge military operations. Eisenhower was frustrated at President because he was used to the military, where his orders were carried out immediately. As President,he had to go through so many checks and ballances that his orders took months to go into effect,or just fell through the cracks and were never carried out.

I would say that heroes can't be trained, they just arise from the circumstances. Those you thought would make the best combat soldiers might cringe and go mental at the sight of the enemy. While the "sad sack" goof-off would end up performing a heroic act which saved dozens of men. Go through the lists of Congressional Medal of Honor winners and you'll find very few who trained for the role...they mostly acted instinctively.

In answer to your follow-up question: I'm not very well informed about our A bomb and H bomb development after the war, so I can't answer. I do know that one of the ships I had been on during WWII was at Bikini for the bomb testing and all personnel in the area were exposed to radiation. I wonder if there have been any studies of people involved in post-war bomb testing to see if they, or their children, developed an unusual number of medical problems -- like those exposed to Agent Orange in VietNam or the oil fires of Iraq

November 12, 2002 - 09:53 am
Am I alone here in this opinion, or does someone else share it? I haven't finished the book yet, but so far the impression I am getting of General Tibbets is not a good one. To me he comes across as highly militant, rigid in his adherence to military orders, indifferent to individual suffering, and, it seems, quite unremorseful for a man who dropped a horrible bomb that obliterated hundreds of thousands of people. I was appalled at the lack of emotion he seemed to show when Greene showed him the letters from Japan. Perhaps my opinion will change as I read further. I hope so.

Bob Greene's mentions about his relationship with his father are very touching, I believe.


Ella Gibbons
November 12, 2002 - 06:02 pm

"If leaders can't be trained, why do we spend so much on educating military leaders at West Point, Annapolis and the Air Force Academy? Of course military leaders also are excellent managers -- just look at Dwight Eisenhower and Clayton Powell."

I’m far from an expert on West Point or any branch of the service, but are all of the graduates from West Point good leaders in time of war? I think they could be good managers certainly, but leaders are different – on that point I agree with Paul Tibbets. We hear only of the most famous, Grant, Lee, MacArthur, Eisenhower, etc., but think of the thousands of graduates we don’t hear about – I don’t know. To be a good leader, you need to establish pride, loyalty, respect in those that are following (although there are many more qualities that could pertain).

I agree with you completely on heros, they rise to the occasion and who knew they would!

And LORRIE said:

"To me he (Tibbets) comes across as highly militant, rigid in his adherence to military orders, indifferent to individual suffering, and, it seems, quite unremorseful."

Yes, I agree Lorrie, but that is why he was picked for the job of dropping the bomb, because the generals knew he could be counted on not to flinch, not to deviate from the orders he was given. He was a soldier, he had to obey orders; though he does admit that the stories bothered him to hear them, that war is terrible and one has to do horrible things in order to end it. Let me quote a paragraph but Tibbets’ book:

”Tokyo was laid waste on one memorable night when 325 bombers, (our B-29’s) each loaded with 7 tons of fire bombs, destroyed an area of 16 square miles and took one hundred thousand lives. I have often mentioned that episode when people have spoken of the horror of the atom bomb.”

War is hell and you do what you have to do to get through it, to get it over with.

Bob Greene is (for lack of a better word) very human in his writing – he expresses emotions we all have felt at different times in our life – his love for his parents is so apparent in this book; yet he tells us it was difficult to express that love for his father while he was living. Very human, very realistic, very true.

While I was reading his father’s message on tape today, I was struck by the fact that his father felt so free in the Army – isn’t that strange? Well, he admits it is strange also, I’ll quote his words here:

”Although I had to obey orders and do everything a soldier must do, it was kind of a newfound freedom. Everyone was alike, nobody was given any privileges other than what they deserved or earned, and I was not fettered by a job that I did not like. So going into the Army, believe it or not, was kind of a relief to me.”

Never heard that from a soldier before – have any of you?

SELDOM, are you still with us?

ROBBY AND BILL – if either of you are still around do you relate to that last quote taken from Greene’s book? FREEDOM IN THE ARMY?

Wanted to let you all know that I emailed Paul Tibbets from his web site – any chance he will answer???? Will let you know if he does.

robert b. iadeluca
November 12, 2002 - 06:28 pm
I most certainly did NOT feel free in the Army!! This is not to say that I did not fit in. I understood the need for regimentation if we were to conduct an organized campaign and so as a Private I obeyed the orders of my superiors without a problem (was even proud that I was part of this "team") and later as a First Sergeant (the notorious unloved Top Kick) gave orders and expected them to be obeyed.

I did not expect to find or experience freedom. As that famous song told us:--"This is the Army, Mr. Jones -- no more private telephones -- you've had breakfast in bed before but you won't have it there anymore!! etc - etc"


November 12, 2002 - 07:03 pm
Never thought of it that way, but now can see some truth to it. I turned 18 two weeks before the Pearl Harbor attack. Had an older brother at Hickam field as a civilian. He and I were always interested in aviation and spent hours building model airplanes in the late '30s.'

Right after Dec 7th I applied as a pilot in the Army Airforce. Passed the mental exam o.k., but several weeks later just barely failed to pass the eye test.

I repeated this process with the Navy, Marines and Coast guard, with the same results.

This took many months and I worked in the shipyards building Liberty ships in the interim and these months were stressful to me.

Finally, in Dec 1942 they said my eyes were good enough for a glider pilot.

So yes, looking back now it definately was a relief to know what I would be doing in the service. Was inducted and sent to Shephard Field, TX for training.

When arriving there was informed no more glider pilots were needed and I wound up as an armorer. Looking back that was a fortunate outcome.

Wound up with a P-47 Fighter Group and arrived in England in early April 1944, and then Normandy, Belgium closely supporting Patton's 3rd Army and was In Germany two months before VE day. Always close to the front but back far enough so enemy artillery could not reach our airstrip.

Traude S
November 12, 2002 - 07:12 pm
Yesterday was a somber day, fittingly so. The overcast sky seemed almost close enough to touch. The pond across the street was just a grayish dead surface without a ripple of life.

As I was taking tea with honey, lemon and extra vitamin C to chase off a hacking cough, I had time to reflect on the wars that have beem ongoing since time immemorial. And on the victims, on all sides. My Swiss grandfather proudly said, "We are neutral, remember Wilhelm Tell ?" (I can tell you who he was.) Even so, for one reason or another, my father fought in WW I at Verdun and lived to tell the tale.

Is there a line, and where is it? All soldiers anywhere are bound to obey orders, lest there be mutiny or anarchy. So I mourn for all those killed before their time in the defense of their country, just as they were told to do - and how could they refuse their duty ?

November 13, 2002 - 09:04 am
Ella: No one can predict who is going to be a great military leader. There are so many of them are trained at service academies because a few will rise to the top. U.S. Grant was at the bottom of his class in West Point; Bull Halsey was pretty low in the Naval Academy's graduating class. Some who were at the top of their class were never heard of.

I can testify that there was more destruction at Tokyo from the firebomb raids than at Hiroshima and Nagasaki combinded. In case we forget what we saw with our own eyes, our squadron book has pictures of that devistation. As it's often been said: "War is Hell."

As for Bob Green's father having a feeling of freedom in the service, I can't agree. I went right from high school to Navy boot camp and remember feeling depressed and homesick some of the time. Later I remember trying to rebell at the unfairness of a 30 day restriction to base. I wrote a letter to the CO and had another 30 days tacked on. I also didn't like being categorized by local girls and their parents as "you sailors are all alike" and always insisted I was different. But when it came to going overseas and fighting, I think we all fit right in as a unit instead of individuals.

Green's father may have been glad to be relieved of the worry about what to do with his life (especially when jobs were scarce). The Army took care of that. I've heard of people who spent long terms in prison feeling lost and alone on the outside.

November 13, 2002 - 09:13 am
Bob Greene Sr. said, often , in a not too genteel phrase, that he was "shot in the ass with the glory needle". Like much that he said , almost self-deprecatingly, it was rock-solid truth. He loved his country and he was a true patriot. He was in the first draft from Bexley, Ohio,among the first to enroll in OCS when the war began, and always thought that he learned more from his years in the army than at any other time in his life.It took him a long, long time to concede that the war in Vietnam was wrong, because he grew up believing 'my country, right or wrong".This bit of biographical background may help in reading Duty.

November 13, 2002 - 09:59 am
Thank you, Phyllis!

It helps so much to read these personal anecdotes of the people written about in a book. And particularly from someone who should know and remember. It helps immensely to see this character as the author must have seen him.

I must say that I liked this man.


Ella Gibbons
November 13, 2002 - 02:14 pm
HELLO, PHYLLIS! How nice of you to drop by our discussion of your son’s book. The love your husband had for our country and pride in the service he rendered is all through the book as told by your son. For those who do not have the book, Greene’s father attended Akron U., took ROTC while he was there (a required course) and later in the service was sent to OTC, a ninety-day wonder school; and you veterans would recognize all of his adventures in the service, being sent overseas in a Liberty Ship which took 20 days to get there, arriving in France to commence training where their unit met their first casualties. They lost 3 men in the many deadly minefields.

As I am sitting here typing, I am also leafing through the book attempting to find your husband’s outfit – the _____________Infantry. I saw it once but now it has disappeared; I love the way your son weaves his father’s story in with Tibbets’ experiences in the war but it’s darned hard to keep one story intact when you are trying to tell it! Hahahaha.

I’ll find it eventually as some of you veterans might recognize it – may even have been near it at times, I know he went on to Rome and into Germany.

ROBBIE – wasn’t it one of the great experiences of your life though? Being yanked from an ordinary life of a young man into one that involved discipline, travel, companions, fear, danger – it would have certainly left some mark on a young man. As I remember you even found a bride overseas!

And SELDOM comments that he “wound up with a P-47 Fighter Group and arrived in England in early April 1944, and then Normandy, Belgium closely supporting Patton's 3rd Army and was In Germany two months before VE day.” These are adventures, as dangerous as they might be, that certainly ALL OF YOU have remembered and will remember for the rest of your life!

Incidentally, SELDOM and all of you, sometime in the spring we are going to be discussing a new biography of PATTON – so look for it and join us.

MORTKAIL – Greene’s father talked about the “gripes” most of the servicemen had and rightly so, the hardships, the training, but as you said – “But when it came to going overseas and fighting, I think we all fit right in as a unit instead of individuals. I know every servicemen would attest to that.

SO NICE TO SEE YOU HERE, TRAUDE! Thanks for your post!

Time marches on, and I have a question in the heading today – I hesitated to add that last question as I don’t want this to become a political discussion, but just give me your offhand thoughts without going into depth. Here is the question:

"In the months after Pearl Harbor..... morale in the U.S.about the war in the Pacific seemed to sink ever lower. There had been no effective response to Pearl Harbor......American officials determined that a surprise bombing raid of the Japanese mainland was the way to turn things around."

Most of you know about the Doolittle raid - considered to be the turning point in the war of the Pacific; are there any parallel battles in recent times to compare with this heroic effort? There is gossip on the street that the bombing of Iraq is to compensate for America's failure to capture the terrorists who attacked our country; any truth to this?

You will be surprised how the story of the Doolittle raid figures in Bob Greene's book!

Ella Gibbons
November 13, 2002 - 02:28 pm
A clickable which will refresh your memories (if needed) about the Doolittle raid: DOOLITTLE RAID ON JAPAN

My husband, a Navy veteran of WWII, does not talk much about his days in the service, but he does talk about this raid and with awe in his voice.

November 13, 2002 - 10:31 pm
OH, THAT WONDERFUL DOOLITTLE RAID!! I remember the news about that well. We were all so starved for something positive to think about, the news up until then had been so terrible. Yes, morale was low, and the people needed something to fill them with pride again, and this courageous foray into enemy territory just filled the bill. When we heard about the raid, we flocked to the streets to shout hurrah, and the churches were filled with people praying for those brave fliers.

They made a movie at the time about the Doolittle Raid, and even today it gets satisfactory reviews. Look what was said back then:

"Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)

The amazingly detailed true story of "The Doolittle Raid" based on the novel of the same name. Stunned by Pearl Harbor and a string of defeats, America needed a victory - badly. To that end, Colonel Jimmy Dolittle, a former air racer and stunt pilot, devises a plan for a daring raid on the heart of Japan itself. To do this, he must train army bomber pilots to to something no one ever dreamed possible - launch 16 fully load bombers from an aircraft carrier! This movie is remarkable in it's accuracy and even uses film footage from the actual raid.

Summary written by KC Hunt

People in the audience were mesmerized by the launching on those aircraft carries. It was fascinating!


Bill H
November 14, 2002 - 03:02 pm
Like the others, I didn't feel free in the army. It was a necessary regimentation all the time. We were trained to face death and dish it out also. Anybody who received bayonet practice for hand to hand combat couldn't feel free because they knew this was a prelude to death And those who were in combat certainly could not feel free.. I can't speak for everybody in the military service during the war, but the thought of death hovered in the back of just about every one in my armored/infantry company. One of my buddies gave me a letter he wrote to his parents.He said: "If I get mine see that my parents get this letter." My reply: "How do know I'm going to be around?." I didn't write any "last letter" I thought it may be a jinx.. Now how can one feel free under those conditions?

Perhaps Bob Green's father felt free from not having to worry where his next meal was coming from, or clothing ,or a place to sleep. The service does free one up from those responsibilities.

Ella Gibbons
November 14, 2002 - 06:31 pm
HELLO LORRIE! You remember hearing about the Doolittle raid - on radio at the time or after the war? In 1942 I was 14 years old and didn't have my mind on the war, but have marveled at the story ever since; particularly when my husband was on an aircraft carrier and at times over the past 52 years we've been married (gosh, we're old!) the subject has come up a time or two (or 20-30 times! haha)

Do you know I've never seen that movie; nor have I seen the two movies mentioned in the book - "ABOVE AND BEYOND" and the "BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES" - the movie that won the Academy Award in 1946. One of these days I'm going to have a weekend to watch old WWII movies; I have them written down and hopefully can still get them!


Hello Bill - happy to see you! Thanks for posting about the Army, have you read this book? It's a great one, you would enjoy it!

I wanted to tell the veterans that Bob Greene was the MC of a dedication ceremony for a monument erected at Wright Patterson AFB in honor of the men who took part.

That was a tender story wasn't it, Lorrie? But the honor guard leaving and not returning - good heavens, how awful. I hope they all got fired or whatever they do to those fellows. Out of the 80 Raiders, only 17 left.

Lorrie, do you feel, as I do, that Paul Tibbets is too hard on the present generation of young people? He is constantly critical of their lack of discipline, their morals - doth he protest too much? He states:

"My father's generation fought a war to save democracy....My generation fought to preserve our freedom from oppression. And sometimes I look around at what the United States has become and I have to reach the sad conclusion that we may have won the battle.....but we haven't won the war....Because of the utter lack of discipline in every area of society. Anything goes. There is no center...

I would like to see determined and iron-assed people get into positions of influence in this country. Some people who wouldn't be afraid to say that there is a difference between right and wrong. I would lilke to see some standards set that we can be proud of."

What do you think?

November 14, 2002 - 08:38 pm
I would like to see determined and iron-assed people get into positions of influence in this country. Some people who wouldn't be afraid to say that there is a difference between right and wrong. I would lilke to see some standards set that we can be proud of."

Ella, maybe he got his wish with our current Commander and Chief. So far he is off to a good start. IN MY OPINION!

November 14, 2002 - 11:43 pm
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Ben Frankl"

Hmmmm. Isn't there some disconnect here?-----"-Ella, maybe he got his wish with our current Commander and Chief. So far he is off to a good start. IN MYOPINION!"

Ann Alden
November 15, 2002 - 07:10 am
Ella and everyone here, I am not doing too well but am trying to hang in there. Unable to compute for long as I just don't feel like it. BUUUUUUUTT, I was reading the comments here on our veterans and how much we owe them. I received the following site from a cousin and thought many of you might want to add your name to the list. Its painless and they don't even ask for a donation!!!Hehehehe! Sign up to say thanks to our military services, the men and women who keep us safe.

November 15, 2002 - 10:04 am
Over in another book discussion on the Boards here, they are talking about a form of writing called "unreliable narrative," with questions abeing answered by a Professor Parkes. I urge you all to click over there and read Post #734, no. 3, This is about a type of writing that Bob Greene does so well here in this book. Take a look. REMAINS OF THE DAY


Bill H
November 15, 2002 - 04:04 pm
Ella, no, I didn't read the book but it sounds like a good one.

Ann, you take good care of yourself.

Bill H

Ella Gibbons
November 15, 2002 - 05:49 pm
JOHN and SELDOM – I don’t understand exactly your point of view, can you explain further? You think George W. is doing a great job? He is a determined young president who wants to get into a war from my viewpoint, but I don’t think you are saying that!!! You both approve of him? All his policies? And how does that statement of B. Franklin’s equate with our present situation?

But that is getting far afield from our book and I do hope, ANN, you feel better real soon, it’s terrible when you have been to the hospital and doctors and still are not feeling up to par. Thanks for sending the petition our way.

LORRIE – you believe there is “bantering” in this book? Bantering to me is making provocative statements in the hopes that the other person will respond in kind. Well, here is what my dictionary says is bantering – “good-humored teasing, mock gently, to exchange mildly teasing remarks.” You think Bob Greene and Paul Tibbets are exchanging “teasing remarks?” Hmmmmmmmm

Greene’s interview with Tibbets is mainly about very serious subjects, for instance, he was telling Tibbets that his father rarely talked about his experiences in the war and he got this reply:

Patriotism is a general word. It’s vague. When you’re fighting a war it is not a matter of patriotism in the general sense. It’s about the death of friends. You watch friends get blown to pieces. And that is not a patriotic feeling. It’s a revolting feeling….and it hurts when the person is a friend of yours. You’re talking to a guy one minute, and the next minute he’s body parts and dead. It’s shocking! It is a shock that doesn’t leave you, and when you come back home you may not want to bring those things out.”

Often in this book the conversation turns to how much more mature the WWII generation was when they were young; they had come from a country in a great depression, most of them had worked after school to help out, it was not a “youth-centered culture” as it is today. In Greene’s words:

”It’s a little-noticed aspect of what happened to the men of my father’s generation and Tibbets’ generation-but they were boys who grew up during the depression, when there was absolutely no hope of going on any kind of a long vacation anywhere, much less across the Atlantic ocean. And then, because of history’s violent jog in the road, these small-town Depression boys were seeing places that even the most fabulously wealthy international travelers of previous generations never got to…….these impossibly distant places were now a part of their lives forever. These young men had gotten out of town, all right-they had gotten about as far out of town as they ever might have dared to dream.”

As I typed that, I thought of the many times I had heard, read or seen pictures of WWII veterans going back…..and I wondered how could they, why?

November 15, 2002 - 11:59 pm

No, I do not approve of Bush.

I meant to portray the irony in Johnf's message about those willing to give up freedom---etc. deserve neitheretc., while at the same time praising Bush who appointed Ashcroft as Attorney General.

Ashcroft and others in the Bush admin are rapidly taking away our long fought for liberties.

November 16, 2002 - 12:32 am

The reason we want to go back is that our experiences in WW11 were the most exciting time in our young lives--especially if one didn't get killed.

As for me, I hadn't been more than 150 miles in any direction from where I was born and raised before WW11.

I was thrilled to see London and Dover, England; then the Bayeaux Tapestry in Bayeaux, France, which I remembered from a European history class ---and Paris, Brussels, ect---beyond my wildest dream!.

Fortunately, I've been able to "go back" five times and loved it.

On one Elderhostel in April 1998 we spent three nights in Rouen, France. My wife agrees I said there is something special about Rouen to me during those 3 nights. And one of the lecturers said I looked like a Norman Peasant.

Lo and behold. Out of the blue last year I got an e-mail from someone in Detroit, Mi who said that he & I are 8th cousins, once removed, and he has traced my father back to Rouen, France in 1630.

Is this spooky, or what?

Ella Gibbons
November 16, 2002 - 01:09 pm
SPOOKY!!! INDEED, YES, SELDOM! A "deja vu" moment. I've had them twice in my life, but they pass so swiftly you cannot hold onto them long enough to give life or meaning to them.

And I see you like Elderhostels, also. We have gone on about 15 over the years, but just in the States. My husband won't fly (don't ask me why, I don't know) and now his health is poor. I did go on one with someone else to Rome for 2 weeks and then we spent 4 days in Venice alone. Oh, how lovely! Would love to do more overseas.

What is most amazing to me are the words you just posted: "experiences in WW11 were the most exciting time in our young lives--especially if one didn't get killed."

You were all in such danger all the time! There is something, perhaps, about the experience that those who have not experienced it cannot understand.

In Greene's book he is questioning Tibbets about being in a group of men and always having someone around who knew how to fix things; and this is the answer Tibbets gave:

"That's one of the things that the war did for us...It's an old saying, but it's a true one: There is nothing like American ingenuity. For the GIs during the war, it was a question of coming upon new problems to solve every day. Problems that none of us had ever anticipated before-and we had to figure out ways to solve them everyday of the war."

Does this bring back a memory of WWII for you? What were a couple of examples of "ingenuity" that you can tell us about?

And as Greene's father lay dying, the neighbors were having their trees trimmed and the noise of it bothered the son. And the next time he saw Tibbets he asked about the noise of war:

"That's something that no one ever thinks about....The sounds of war. I haven't even thought about it for a long time. But it was a big part of it. The war was not quiet...and the noise wasn't like anything else we ever experienced before, or like anything we would ever experience again....The gunfire, and the tank noises, and the sirens and the aircraft overhead all the time."

I read those memories in this book and there is nothing in civilian life to compare with that. We have no idea of it and it's very frightening to think about; the noise of the WTC coming down - no one expresses the noise it must have made! And that must have happened all around you during war.

November 16, 2002 - 03:46 pm
On Page 158, Greene writes how his father was so proud of having made it from a private (the basement) all the way up to Major (an executive), It's interesting how he compares that in business terms.

I know the pride he must have felt. My one brother received a battlefield commission while over in Europe, from sergeant to a 2nd Lieutenant, and then to Captain, and this seemed to give him immense pleasure whenever he met up with out neighbor, a West Point graduate. We were all proud of him, too.

I was wondering something, too. Why do you suppose Bob Greene was able to ask this aging Brig. General questions that he was unable to ask his own father? Was it because of his father's illness? Or was it that the author simply wasn't interested enough until his visits to his father's bedside?


November 16, 2002 - 06:16 pm
Someone asked earlier about Bob's division. It was the 91st,which he joined just as it was being activated at Camp White in Medford, Oregon. He was, in fact, in the first cadre that was sent there before the whole camp was actually built.

November 16, 2002 - 07:28 pm
Ella:Because this is a discussion about a book called “Duty” , not politics, I tried to confine my answer to the question that you posted ( #109) as it relates to there not being any “iron-assed” leaders anymore. I opined that our Commander-in-Chief seemed to be doing a good job at that. I probably should have added , in the war on terrorism for clarity. Iron-assed seems to be appropriate there.

About his political agenda I believe that his Home Security Bill has gotten out of hand. The proposals by Admiral Poindexter to establish a national data base of individuals is beyond the pale. It is an assault on our personal freedom and I intend to protest to my elected representatives. Our President gets no praise from me on this one.

I apologize for injecting politics into your book discussion. John/ PS. It is still possible to give praise as well as criticism.

November 17, 2002 - 05:22 am
SELDOM, JOHNF, someday, future historians will write their commentary of the history of our times and indicate the wisdom or fallacy of our current foreign and domestic policies. It will be much easier for them to write their pithy critiques than it is for George Bush to SET our foreign and domestic policies today, because those future historians will KNOW how it all turned out. I don't envy those who have the responsibility to lead our country. Hindsight certainly has a way of making things clearer. It's surely difficult for all of us to live in a time when the stakes for world peace are obviously high, but the correct course of action remains debatable.

We traveled to Gettysburg last week and took an auto tour of that battlefield. We had the benefit of a tactical analysis from our friend, a retired history professor. It's ironic that some of the earliest Gettysburg engagements turned in favor of the Southerners, but it was those precise victories that forced the Union troops to retreat to the higher ground to their rear. The higher ground ultimately gave the Union a tremendous advantage. The most decisive battles from Little Round Top to Pickett's Charge consisted of Union troops defending higher ground positions and/or positions with considerable protective cover while Lee's troops were then forced to mount an attack through more exposed terrain. The dynamics of the battles had occurred BECAUSE of the early Southern show of strength and it turned the initial possibility of defeat into victory for the North.

I wish WE could all know the future results of our nation's policies ahead of time as well as we now understand the results of past battles. The complex times we live in seem to produce many different opinions from bright, caring people. It's wonderful to read both of your comments.


Ella Gibbons
November 17, 2002 - 09:11 am

More later -

Ella Gibbons
November 17, 2002 - 02:53 pm
GOOD QUESTION, LORRIE! Perhaps only the author can answer that one, or maybe, PHYLISS can?

First, we should thank Phyllis for answering the last one – now can you tell us anything at all in respect to LORRIE’S question – Post #119? I can speculate on several reasons, but I would rather have the author – or the MOTHER OF THE AUTHOR – give us the answer.

JOHN – we all digress at times when we are in a discussion and how to separate “politics from war” is something I wouldn’t want to tackle as a subject! Thanks for your post and stick around as we need VETERANS OPINIONS - the book is about two veterans of WWII – who better to answer our questions and we have numerous ones!

For example – did you have any trouble adjusting to civilian life when you got home?

Tibbets mentions the “silence” of home which to him meant “tranquility.” I like that; I cannot relate to the silence from battlefields as the veterans can, but I know that after being with people for awhile – family reunions, friends, etc. – you come home and feel the silence – it’s nice. Perhaps this is why Greene was disturbed with the tree trimmers at the hour of his father’s death – noise is not tranquil; he wanted his father to feel tranquility.

Lorrie – Harriet – what is your interpretation of this?

Harriet said – “The complex times we live in seem to produce many different opinions from bright, caring people.”

This isn’t the same “war” we had in 1941-45 when it was a question of knowing the enemy, the evil enemy, now we might be engaged in a new type of war where the enemy can hide in many countries, even our own! Frightening.

Greene’s father talks of this kind of fighting in his war - WWII:

”The Bay of Naples was something that I shall never forget as long as I live. The harbor was absolutely jammed with the wreckage of all kinds of Italian warships, French warships…..we were closing in on the Germans…..they made good use of their 88s……we slept beneath the trucks because we didn’t know when we would be hit by incoming artillery or what.”


This quote: “Florence was declared an open city, which meant that while the bridges would be bombed and taken out, none of the city was to be touched. This was an arrangement that had been made by the Axis and the Allies.

How was this done? Was there a meeting somewhere? Telegrams? Telephones? Were there other cities so designated???

robert b. iadeluca
November 18, 2002 - 04:52 am
I had no trouble adjusting to civilian life when I got home for the simple reason that I was a "civilian" all the time, as were the millions of others. The technical side of life had changed (due to the advancements during the war) and that was new and sometimes astonishing -- but not hard to adjust to.

For example, I immediately enrolled at Hofstra College in Hempstead, Long Island. Levitt was starting to build his mass production houses on the potato fields near the college. I would go to college in the morning and pass five foundations. I would return in the afternoon and see five houses that hadn't been there before.


November 18, 2002 - 09:53 am
I have never quite understood what is meant by the phrase "open city." It was used frequently during WWII, and there was even a foreign film made with that tile that was popular. Can someone enlighten us here?

Ella, you put it so well about Tibbetts' feeling of silence. He treasured the idea of tranquillity, and the noise of outside machines could be intrusive.


November 18, 2002 - 10:03 am
On page 170, when Bob greene writes about his father's last days, the bedroom scene with the family gathered around is almost unbearably poignant. I was truly touched by the feeling that was brought forth, and left with an unswerving admiration for the closeness of that family.

Phyliss, you must have been extremely grateful that you were all able to be present just before your husband's passing, and your son's tribute to you in an earlier segment was superb. Without being lachrymose, he was able to describe a close-knit, caring family saying goodbye to one of its members, and I don't think I will forget these pages easily.


Ella Gibbons
November 18, 2002 - 07:10 pm
Good evening, ROBBIE AND LORRIE! I'm so very tired tonight that I can hardly punch these keys - working outside on leaves, trillions of leaves! Are you two in here all by yourselves?

I looked earlier on GOOGLE to try to find something about Florence and that "open city" deal with the Axis powers and I tried for about 45 minutes and gave up! That may be something we will never find out about.

I turned the page from that reference and I started chuckling and then laughing at the following and thought I should type this in so you all could laugh with me: (from the author's memories of his father)

Once, I remember, we ate inside at the Eastmoor....there was loud music playing in the restaurant...and he (his father) called the waitress over and asked her to turn it down. "We can't turn it down, she said, It comes from downtown." I thought his eyes were going to turn to icicles - "The music comes from downtown," he said, each word an accusation. "It does" she said.

"Where downtown?"

"I don't know" the waitress said.

"You're telling me that we have to sit here and have this music blast into our ears because someone downtown is controlling the volume?" he said. "Do your hamburgers come from downtown?

Because if they do, maybe you can tell the person who brings them to turn the music down on his way"


Remember the days! Loved that!

November 19, 2002 - 01:58 am
I also was moved by Greene's account of his father's last days. I felt Greene was trying to grasp the essence of who his father was and, because he identified with his dad so intensely, learn more about himself. It is plain that he longs to understand his father's memories and personality. Whenever anyone describes their feelings honestly, I always find that touching and emotional.

When I was young I viewed my parents and my aunts and uncles as infinitely mature "older" folk. They buffered me against the dangers of time because they were the ones who stood in the first lines of mortality. As I grew older I realized that I myself had moved up into the first ranks of the "older" generation. Now a new group of family youngsters regarded ME as an elderly icon. I don't know why I should have been surprised, but I was.

Maybe we all get a little surprised when the years add up. Major Greene, in his final illness, believed at times that he was a young man again, at the bedside of his own extremely ill father, Bob Greene's grandfather. It moved me because each generation loved and identified with the previous one. I think Bob Greene wrote tenderly about the universal human experience of dealing with the mortality of a parent, and by extension, considering our own mortality.


November 19, 2002 - 05:44 am
Many men say that the time they spent in military service was an extremely memorable period in their lives. I know my husband feels that way. Paul Tibbets gives an interesting opinion on why this should have been true. In Chapter 20, he describes his feelings.

"The reason those years mean so much to so many of us is that it is the one time in your life that you are absolutely proud of what you are doing, and you are absolutely proud of your friends and what they are doing. It's a relationship of man-to-man.

"It is your ass and his--your ass and the guy next to you and the guy next to him. And the people back home can't see you, and they don't know what you're doing, and they don't know who you're doing it with. These men are your friends, and you are depending on them to live.

"Men among men! Men among men! And when you come back home after the war, it is never the same. You faced odds, and you made it back, and you faced down your worst fears. And all of a sudden you're back in a country where things are safer, and the people around you are not all working for the same goal.

"And you go on, and the war is over, and you become the person you will be for the rest of your life. But inside of you, the time when you were men among men will never go away."

Veterans, do YOU agree with General Tibbet's feelings? Is that really the emotions of the military experience?


robert b. iadeluca
November 19, 2002 - 06:03 am
I don't agree. My military experience was NOT "the one time in my life that I was proud of what I was doing." Sounds to me as if he had low self esteem before he entered the military.


Ann Alden
November 19, 2002 - 12:55 pm

Just wanted to let you know that my husband, Ralph, just finished reading Duty and he really enjoyed it. We had a few discussions about the atomic bomb and Harry Truman's decision to drop it. And about Bob Greene's easy writing which just draws you forth from beginning to end.

Ella Gibbons
November 19, 2002 - 02:20 pm

These words particularly held a meaning for me also:

"Maybe we all get a little surprised when the years add up. Major Greene, in his final illness, believed at times that he was a young man again, at the bedside of his own extremely ill father, Bob Greene's grandfather. It moved me because each generation loved and identified with the previous one."

An older sister's husband died just a month ago and he was in and out of a coma and medications during that time; when he talked to us he was always asking about his own Mother and Father, who had died years ago, and his friends, etc. When my sister brought pictures of their children and told him their names, he didn't understand at all, didn't relate to the present time, although he did know my sister, his wife. It's strange - the mind. It was unexpected and sad!

And, yes, isn't it a surprise when you become the "oldest" generation and at lunch today my sister was relating to things her children were saying, and they also were realizing their own mortality, their own age as it will be in the near future when she is gone.

NO, ROBBY, NO - Paul Tibbets NEVER, NEVER HAD LOW SELF-ESTEEM! You know this from reading the book - but I'm glad you can say what you did!


If so, will you read Post #130 and tell us if it is true that "inside of you, the time when you were men among men will never go away." The time when you were man among men and you measured up, you got through it, came home safe! I would think so.

I know my husband's fishing friends (at Lake Erie) are his best friends and a few among are the best fishermen, etc. and they all call each other all winter long (our long distance bills are astronomical) until the spring comes! Men need men at times; and the same is true of women don't you think?

Hello Ann! Tell Ralph to come on in and join our discussion!

November 19, 2002 - 04:08 pm
I agree with Harriet's observation that the time we spent in the service during World War II were the most memorable in our lives....but I think they become more memorable as we grow older.

When we came back we tried to make up for lost time and many of us who came through unscathed forgot about the war. I had quit high school in my senior year to get into the Navy, so I had to finish my high school requirements, then college as fast as possible under the GI Bill. There was no time for summer vacations. I was 20 when the war ended, but I can imagine how it was for men in their late 20s or early 30s, many with families to support. We had no time to think about being heros. I though so little about the war, that I wore my old flight jacket and jump suit to garden and paint my house. Now I wish I had saved them.

But I disagree with General Tibbets that it was the only time we were proud of what we were doing. Maybe I have a hero complex or am egotistical, but I was proud of my athletic accomplishments as a kid, proud of my career as a newspaper man, proud of my family. I'm still proud and grateful that I'm still able to run marathons and ski all winter.

In recent years, with the greater recognition of our service in WWII, I've become more proud of the fact that I served. It makes me proud when so many people say "thank you" when I wear a veterans hat or shirt. During the anti-Vietnam war protests, I was proud to say I rescued more men than I killed in the war. I still am.

robert b. iadeluca
November 19, 2002 - 04:10 pm
Mort said it better than I did.


November 19, 2002 - 05:27 pm
There's another thing to be said for this book---it offers some worthwhile perspectives on half a century's progress. It shows how later generations approach life differently than the "Greatest Generation" did--or does. I know we have all heard this before, but in Tibbets' case the effect is amplified, and sadly enough, this "Man Who Won the War" seems quite out of place in today's world.


Ella Gibbons
November 19, 2002 - 06:10 pm
MORT – THANKS FOR YOUR POST! I echo ROBBY’S post - very well stated, indeed - ”but I think they become more memorable as we grow older……..In recent years, with the greater recognition of our service in WWII, I've become more proud of the fact that I served.”

Is it that we now have time to reflect on our lives?

Did you, MORT, feel that the young men who ran to Canada or sat in jails during the Vietnam War were cowards? My husband, a WWII veteran, at first did – I remember him saying when you get the notice from your draft you go, you don’t question, you do it!

Wasn’t this discussed somewhere here? I cannot remember, I’ll try to find Tibbets’ views, but LORRIE, I do agree with you that he “seems quite out of place in today's world.” Don’t you find him too negative, particularly about young people today? Is this symptomatic of a lot of “older people? I hear it, do you? Have we lost sight of the fact that the world changes with each generation and we must change also – change our attitudes and our thoughts?

OH! I just found a reference to this on page 184 as Greene is telling Tibbets that his father, as he grew older, viewed so much of the world with increasing disdain, and asks Tibbets what is it like to have anger toward the way things are in the country you fought for? Tibbets says:

”But you see little things-how undignified people purposely are in their conduct and mannerisms, how people’s behavior when they are in public shows a complete lack of a proper upbringing and you find yourself asking yourself: Why did I do it all? Was it just for this?......It’s just you know, what really bothers me, and I’m no even sure why, is how many loudmouths there are walking around, not caring who they are offending, not caring when they use certain words in front of ladies and their elders. It’s disgusting.”

What do you think?

November 20, 2002 - 07:45 am
I know we're getting away from the book Duty, which I read a few months ago, but you ask about my view of the Vietnam War. At first I thought it was necessary and was all in favor of our intervention. As it dragged on with no signs of ending and we saw nightly TV pictures of the carnage, I thought we should get out. I remember joining protest marches and making a statement by wearing my WWII ribbons as "hardhats" (construction workers) tried to stop us.

I don't recall how I felt about the guys who fled to Canada or went to jail to escape the draft. But I do remember my increasing respect for Mohamad Ali, who gave up everything to stick to his anti-war principals. He could have gone along with the program and made personal appearances and exhibition fights and never see combat....Like Joe Louis did during WWII. In this reguard, I have more respect for Mohamas Ali than Joe Louis.

Your quote from Page 184 makes me feel that Gen. Tibbets was becoming a grumpy old man, out of touch with the times. Why should the current generation live by our past values...or the values of some of us. I heard more curse words in the service than I ever heard before or since. It was just a way of expressing yourself not a lack of respect. Mort Kail

Ann Alden
November 20, 2002 - 10:20 am
Ella, the page where Tibbets says he can't talk to anyone under 60 today just struck me as funny. "We use the same words but we don't mean the same thing"? or something like that.

I don't know that Tibbets that he wasn't proud of any thing else that he had done but that being in the war gave him a great feeling of comaradarie(sp) with his men friends.

robert b. iadeluca
November 20, 2002 - 10:53 am
I am a WWII combat veteran who marched in protest against the Vietnam War.


Ella Gibbons
November 20, 2002 - 06:14 pm


We did get off the subject of the book a bit, but I am a little surprised that no other wars were mentioned by Bob Greene in his interview with Paul Tibbets; perhaps they were and he chose not to print them? No, no, no, I shouldn't speculate on that at all.

As I watched the news this evening and saw tanks and soldiers in the desert of Saudi Arabia practicing for war, I thought of this passage in the book about the Gulf War and I quote:

"The phrase "television war" was often used to describe Vietnam, but that was before cable, before all-news channels had the airtime available to show endless unedited hours of war coverage, live. And at the beginning of the 1990s, when the Gulf War-'Operation Desert Storm'-was telecast live on CNN, my father seemed more interested in that than in any television show any of the networks had broadcast in years.

I think it was Norman Schwarzkopf-at least that was part of it. Here, again and at last, was a general who got to be admired for being a general. The last time the nation had- with no sarcasm,with no irony- paid respectful attention to a general was......when?.......

So my father watched General Schwarzkopf with considerable approval......but the telecast of the Gulf War had confused him in ways he could not quite elucidate. There was no sprawl, no distance-you could see everything all at once, it was packaged with great expertise for the home viewer."

His father's war (recorded on tape)

"The problem was, in back of us there was a battery of 90 milllimeter anti-aircraft guns, which fired constantly and were being used as artillery against the Germans.

This meant that while it was fairly peaceful during the day, you couldn't sleep at night because of this constant din of those 90-millimeter shells streaking overhead.

The Germans didn't seem to react to this until one terrible morning when they made a direct hit on us, killing several people and wounding some of my best men. And there but for the grace of God....I was not wounded that day, which was a lucky day for me, believe me, one of many, many that I had during my Army career.....

Two very different wars! Uncomparable in many ways except that soldiers still are doing their duty, and soldiers still get killed.

I've heard so many commentators ask of a congressman or some one in the Pentagon whether Bush is pushing too hard for war.

Again, I know we are off the subject but we have time here, is our President too anxious? If so, why? He spent the Vietnam years in the National Guard, what does he know of war?

The old foes, your foes - Germany is against our going to war; Japan has Article 9 in their Constitution (I believe I'm right here) that prohibits their military on any foreign soil. Aren't we being a bit arrogant in starting an offensive war threatening to use our power to dethrone a country's leader?

Ella Gibbons
November 20, 2002 - 06:18 pm
Incidentally, I thought Schwarzkopf was great also, a true leader. I will never forget his speeech to the newscasters - I wish I had recorded it! I'll try to look it up on the Internet.

November 20, 2002 - 06:50 pm
A WW11 vet, I too, marched in 1967 in San Francisco against the Vietnam war.

Had a 17 year old "hippie" daughter who thought we were politically ignorant, martini drinking old folks. She went to S.F. to march with her friends and did not think, know?, I also was marching? We accidentaly spotted eachother in the massive crowd on Market street.

With a horrified look she immediately disappeared into the crowd.

Another proud marching moment was participating in the "Great March on Wash, DC" for civil rights in 1963. Was living in Mamaroneck, NY then. Newspapers were filled with warnings about potential violence. We left Mamaroneck around 1:30 am in a school buss rented by the local NAACP. It was pitch black going down the NJ Turnpike. Whenever headlights overtook us, not knowing whether friend or foe, we all hunched over in our seats.

When we reached the junction where the PA Turnpike joined and saw the endless headlights, busses from PA, OH (Tibbetts should have been there) IN, IL, etc. streaming in a cheer went up. We passed the Mason-Dixon line and soon needed a "pit stop" and pulled into a gas station. Since the bus was mostly black, I recall only about 5 or 6 of us whites, the station refused permission.

But most were college age, and in good physicall shape, so we said we are going to use them! The three white employees stood around with sour looks as they witnessed their first "Potty-In."

When entering Wash, DC it was early dawn and we were thrilled to see the Army and National Guard at every intersection with mounted bayonets waving us thru. Actually heard the famous MLKing speech---"Thank God almighty----."

Wrote my older liberal sister that I was prouder of that then participating in WW11.

November 21, 2002 - 07:45 am
Hello to all!

SELDOM, my husband and I traveled to Washington for MLK's Civil Rights March in 1963 also. I share your emotions of pride about that venture. Who could have known that the March would become such a significant part of our history? Like you, we and our friends were afraid of possible violence. You told your story so well! Thanks for sharing!

ELLA, such a poignant story about your brother-in-law. Sometimes I wonder if, in our last extremity, our mind sends us back to "safer" times. I hope your sister is well.

Going back a bit, someone brought up the issue of how hard General Tibbets was in his judgement of the sense of responsibility in our current younger generation. I'm not so sure that it was his increasing age which produced his hard opinions. It occurs to me that Tibbets may have had unyielding standards for performance and responsibility for everyone, ALL of his life, both in the military and in civilian life.

I recall a passage of DUTY in which Greene and Tibbets had a conversation about the efficiency of the WW II generation. Tibbets pointed out that there were plenty of guys who were screw-ups in the military during his tenure of service. When Tibbets was the officer in command he said he was uniformly tough on them. Perhaps that's why he was chosen to command the 509th and be responsible for the delivery of the first H-Bomb?

Tibbets had no warm feelings for ANY men who were foul-ups in any area for which HE held responsibility. After a lifetime of command, It's not surprising to me that he regarded the bulk of our younger generation as he did.

So then, who were the "men-among-men" that HE had such fond memories of serving among? Is it possible that he really allowed himself intimate friendships with the men he commanded? Perhaps he worried that it might have impaired his discipline? I begin to think that the "men-among-men" that Tibbets depended upon for his life and safety might have been a few notable military names like Generals Hap Arnold, Mark Clark, George Patton and Dwight Eisenhower? If so, then it becomes clearer to me how Tibbets exacting, personal standards for responsibility and efficiency evolved. He was probably considered a tough officer, even in the rarified circles in which he moved.



November 21, 2002 - 11:18 am

What a glorious post! Like Ella, i was quite touched by it, and the emotions you describe are so real to all of us who felt the way you did in those days. It's a tribute not only to all the protesters and participants but to you yourself for standing up for what you believe is right. This sort of integrity is so rare these days!


November 21, 2002 - 06:03 pm
I have checked in more than I have posted..all you articulate and thoughtful people have so much interesting to say that you don't need any additional words from me, and I salute all of you who marched for civil rights. One word about General Tibbets and some of the "men among men" that he admired. And loved. The last part of the book ( am I jumping ahead when I shouldn't?) will talk about those men; they are his crew. Best to all, Phyllis

Ann Alden
November 22, 2002 - 10:31 am
Well, I am still reading the last few pages here but I must go back a minute and say that Bob Greene wrote such a poignant piece on the Doolittle Raiders that I was in tears. Definitely a good and enjoyable writer.

Phyllis, I am so glad that you have stuck with us and enjoyed your sojourn here on Seniornet. Hope you will return, after we finish Duty, to discuss other books with us.

Ella Gibbons
November 22, 2002 - 01:57 pm

ANN has a wonderful idea! Come discuss books with us, Phyllis, do please! Do you like fiction or nonfiction? Or either? What have you read lately? Give us some suggestions for books that you have read and loved!

Perhaps we can just finish up the whole book now as we have a Thanksgiving Day vacation next week and some of us may not be here or be here off and on.

"Winter came and the snow started piling up. It was at least thirty to thiry-six inches deep in some places, and nothing moved, nothing at all. Try to imagine the troops in the front line enduring the bitter cold and all this snow, with very little relief in sight.

Finally Christmas came, and Bill Ehrman and another guy and I were in our quarters, and it became midnight, and all of a sudden, along the whole perimeter of the front, the Germans started shooting tracer bullets straight up into the sky.

If it wasn't such a horrible thing, it would have been a beautiful sight. I shall never forget this as long as I live. The curtain of bright points of light lasted about three minutes, which was just about a minute and a half before the stroke of midnight and a minute and a half afterwards. The tracers suddenly ceased and it was all quiet on the Italian front."


What memories of wartime Christmas do you veterans have? What did you welcome the most from home at this time of the year besides letters, of course?

This story just begs to be heard by all of you so I'm typing it in. After his father's death, Greene received a letter with a Columbus postmark and a return address not far from the house where I had grown up and the letter said:

"A few years ago your dad telephoned me after he had received a membership list of the 91st Infantry Divisioin Association. He said he didn't recognize any names on the list, but noticed that I live just a block from where he used to live in Bexley. We had a long chat about the 91st in Italy.....Later a mutual friend....... got us together for an afternoon of reminiscing....."

The three of them had spent hours at lunch that day, talking about their days with the Army in Italy, drawing word pictures over all the years. of friends and commanders and colleagues from a war that was at the same time global in its span, and achingly personal in the tiny, yet eternal, memories it left in those who were there.

tiny, yet eternal, memories.......

Greene states it so well, don't you agree? Do you go to reunions still?

robert b. iadeluca
November 22, 2002 - 03:46 pm
So many of these stories (some of them just legends) speak of peace on earth and good will toward men suddenly coming upon the opposing sides at Christmas time.

Just before Christmas, 1944 I was sleeping in a cellar in Germany, heard tanks approaching, and knew it wasn't ours. No singing of Christmas Carols, no passing of cigarettes to the Wehrmacht, just another battle looming as the Germans suddenly created the Battle of the Bulge.

No, I have never been to a re-union. That is in the past and I always live for the future.


Traude S
November 22, 2002 - 09:03 pm
Sorry, I have been more off line this week than on, but I have finished reading DUTY for the second time and found it more moving than the first.

I too searched the net for a formal reference to "open cities" -- without success. As Major Greene said on tape (last full paragraph on pg. 171 of DUTY), Florence was declared an open city, and so was Rome. The 1945 movie Roma città aperta = Rome Open City with Anna Magnani, directed by Roberto Rossellini, deals with this aspect.

My father fought in WW I and was wounded at Verdun; he talked about the war through the years. He was a gallant man and I loved him with all my heart. He too laid his life on the line for his country- and did his duty -- so long ago.

As for the criticism of today's youth, I believe Gen Tibbets has a point. At one point he says "Anything goes ---" ( how true !) and laments the lack of discipline (including self-discipline) among our youth. Well, so do I.

My son is a passionately dedicated, idealistic, gifted teacher and coach who is slowly burning out before my eyes. He has said to me more than once,"What more can I do to REACH these kids --- ?".

Where are the values that are being talked about incessantly ? What are they ? And why is there so much violence and unbridled selfishness ?

Hello Phyllis, your presence in our midst is gracious and sincerely appreciated.

I admire your son for this book and 2 others of his that I have read. He is a fine writer.

November 23, 2002 - 12:53 am
Robby is correct to look to the future.

But I lived with the same 5 men in a 6 man tent in England, France, Belgium and Germany from April 1944 thru Oct 1945. We did get into buildings sometimes, but even then we hung together. So we did get to know each other very well.

We parted company in late 1945 when we left Antwerp, Belgium on various ships back to the U.S. and discharge.

Admit it was a thrill to attend the first re-union of the 406th Fighter Group in Irving, TX in 1982-- 37 years after we last met.

5 of the 6, and wives, showed up. We had a wonderful time over the 3 day re-union.

They've had several since and even went overseas to put a plack at the many fighter strips/airfields we occupied. Two Mayors from Normandy have come to the U.S. on domestic re-unions.

Even the people from Handorf, Germany welcomed us. They were given 24 hrs to leave and then we took over and for the next 3 to 4 weeks did a lot of damage to the buildings by digging up gardens and breaking into walls for hidden treasures. We were extremely angry at the Germans by then.

We 6 took over a house with a bicycle shop on the first floor. For 3 weeks I had a private bedroom with a bed and a down comforter

Alas, there are now only three of us left.

Ella Gibbons
November 23, 2002 - 10:56 am
We are tremendously humbled and grateful for the VETERANS' POSTS in this discussion. What you tell us is not in a book, not just words, but your own very real experiences. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

My husband went to one reunion, that was the last! On a carrier, I believe he said there were 1500 men; he knew some of them when in the Navy - he recognized none at the reunion except his best friend who we see occasionally here in our hometown.

Thank you, guys!

SELDOM, I was very surprised at this comment you made: "Two Mayors from Normandy have come to the U.S. on domestic re-unions." Where held? How publicized? Very interesting!

I would love to read a good book about the French and WWII - the resistance fighters, the German occupation (how long was it?) etc. Does anyone know one to recommend?

And thank you, TRAUDE, for your post; we all agree that Bob Greene is one terrific author - one need only look at his past bestsellers to recognize the fact. I've read this book twice, also, and got much more out of it the second time.

And for those who do not remember, PHYLLIS - his mother, whose picture is in the heading - is an author herself and will soon be publishing her second book. Can't resist this today - GO BUCKS!

Ann Alden
November 23, 2002 - 11:58 am
While we read and discuss, Phyllis is writing more for us to peruse! What a lady!

I have finally finished and yes, its my second time through and I don't think I will be forgetting it very soon. Very poignant! Thanks to Bob Greene for helping us see the mindset of the crew and the US government at that time in our history.

Speaking of not resisting, Ella, come visit Curious Minds tomorrow and see our new topic, The toys of our childhood and what we did with them. Toyland Toyland Toyland Curious Minds See ya'll there!! And, Go Bucks!

Ella Gibbons
November 23, 2002 - 01:49 pm
P.S. The Buckeyes went and won the game! What a terrific game and they are off to the national championships!

We have more to say in this discussion yet - we are not through with the book. We must discuss and tell our veterans about Tibbets and his friends in Branson, MO - a trip that Bob Greene was invited to attend! These veterans are not looking back either, ROBBIE AND SELDOM! They are living in the present and having good times!

November 23, 2002 - 11:43 pm
There is a little more that I wish to say later in regard to this wonderful book, but first i wanted to come in here and send my most grateful regards to Phyllis Greene, who has taken time out from her busy routine to post some illuminating comments about sections of the book and about her family, in general.

Thank you, Phyllis, for allowing us to share with you the bittersweet memories of your husband and son's final attempts at closure, about which your son writes so eloquently. It's a wonderful family story, besides everything else.

Like Ella, I certainly hope you won't be a stranger here. We would love to see you join us anytime. You will always be most welcome.


Traude S
November 24, 2002 - 09:36 am
At first glance it might seem that Maureen Dowd's oped in this Sunday's NYT titled "The Boomers' Crooner" has little, if anything, to do with our book.

Yet, the appearance is deceptive : the article speaks volumes about our times and the fevered focus on, and the lionizing of, loud-mouthed, often lewed, entertainment idols.

"Anything goes ...", said General Tibbets ---

November 24, 2002 - 12:47 pm
You all have been so gracious and welcoming to me.. actually, I have been in your midst before when Traude was the leader/moderator a few months ago. And I hope to stop by from time to time in the months ahead. This is a most wonderful book site, with time to thoroughly read (or re-read) a book and have an exchange of ideas. It is with "book people" on AOL that I found a "home", and here I shall stay, although I have road runner and could use it. Best to all of you. I am happy that you are enjoying Duty. Of course I cannot be objective, but I think that Bob did a fine job of weaving the three strands of the story into a cohesive whole: his father's life, his father's death, and the amazing way Paul Tibbets story winds through both of the other strands. Best, Phyllis

Ella Gibbons
November 25, 2002 - 12:59 pm

Traude, you speak of "loud-mouthed, often lewed, entertainment idols" and I agree and we certAinly witnessed "violent behavior" in our city when our football team won a coveted national championship! Violence, fires lit, cars overturned, riot police, arrests!

It wouldn't have happened when Tibbets was young. There is a discussion of this on pages 259-261 when Greene asks Tibbets if he felt that his generation was unnessarily sheltered because there was so much they were not permitted to see and Tibbets answers:

"If your dad and I had grown up with the nudity and the language and the violence that young people see on TV and in the movies now, I don't think it would have had an effect on us one way or the other.......because it's not like we didn't know it was out there. Sex was all hush-hush-you couldn't see it everywhere....but it was there-the world just didn't serve it up to us on a silver platter."


Ann Alden
November 25, 2002 - 01:23 pm
Do you think he means that the men and women of WWII would be the same people that they were even tho' exposed to this junk on TV? Does he mean that he thinks that in spite of the goings on in today's world, our young people would still be there to protect and defend our country?

November 26, 2002 - 08:33 am
Sorry I've been too busy to join in the recent discussion of this book. All good stuff - children and grandchildren in for the Thanksgiving Holidays.

As someone from the same generation, I agree with General Tibbets that the sex and violence seen on TV and movies today wouldn't have had much effect on us. There was plenty of violence in the movies -- not much sex, we had to explore that for ourselves.

In answer to Ann Alden, I don't think the violence we see today on TV, movies and computer games would have had an adverse effect on the desire and ability to fight an enemy. In fact it might be a help in familiarizing youngsters with modern fighting methods.

But I do think that the lack of physical activity and the growing obesity of young people today, would mean many more 4Fs (unfit for military duty) in a universal draft. It's a good thing that we don't require the overwhelming numbers of troops that we did for WWII. And there are plenty of physically fit and dedicated young people who are still willing to fight for our country, given the right cause.

Traude S
November 26, 2002 - 06:16 pm
It was not my intention to lay blame on the media.

However, there is a huge difference in our present lives when compared to the thirties and forties. Profound societal changes have taken place since.

The "facts of life" were always known (more or less) but discreetly hidden and not mentioned. Nowadays everything is brazenly put before the world (the viewing public); TV is the virtual babysitter in many households and always "on".

It won't do any good to restrict "adult" shows to evening hours because even the 'beloved' daytime soaps (especially the soaps !) can raise an adult's eyebrows and elicit a gasp, or two.

In my humble opinion there is an IMBALANCE : the offerings on TV focus much, much more on sexual innuendos than on, say, education. Which I find sad. Why is that, I wonder ? Are there commercial interests at work ?

November 26, 2002 - 08:26 pm
The difference between the 40's and today's TV program regarding sex is like the magazines. we had to use our imagination back then. Today some of the movies are like an instruction book. I wouldn't be surprised my 12 year old grandson knows more now than I ever did! My oldest grandson and his buddy skipped school occasionaly to watch the soaps.

I am still waiting for my library to have a copy of DUTY available.

Ella Gibbons
November 27, 2002 - 08:05 am

And thank you so much for your posts!

Traude S
November 27, 2002 - 07:04 pm

I know exactly what you mean, of course, and I hasten to add that I am not a puritan by any means, never have been.

I just think that there are (not should be , but ARE ) certain boundaries of good taste, of decency, of decorum, dignity, and if that makes me seem old-fashioned, I take it with grace and consider it a virtue.

We recently were engaged right here in our Books and Literature group in an outstanding, enlightening discussion of a book called THE REMAINS OF THE DAY by Kazuo Ishiguro and have just finished 'evaluating' (I hope that doesn't sound too pretentious) the movie of the same name. DIGNITY and the definition of the term played a large role in the story.

I hope you will be able to get DUTY from the library; it is precisely what the subtitle says, the story of a father, his son and the man who ended the war, seamlessly woven together. All heroes, in my book.

Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving.

November 28, 2002 - 04:04 pm
I think our values are similar. I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving also.

Ella Gibbons
November 30, 2002 - 08:35 am
OH, THE DAYS WENT BY FAST and it is now the end of November, the end of our discussion, BUT NEVER THE END OF "DUTY" to our country, for when it calls our young people will answer. Let us all hope it will not be in the near future.


See you next year when we will be here to discuss another book about veterans; meanwhile look over all our upcoming discussions - those that are being PROPOSED - one about Rudy Guiliani (click here - Ella Gibbons "---Leadership ~ by Rudolph Giuliani ~ TBA" 11/25/02 10:53am) - or possibly a book about lost dinosaurs? click here: Ella Gibbons "---Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt ~ by William Nothdurft with Josh Smith ~ TBA" 11/25/02 10:59am, or Profiles in Courage for our Time - Ella Gibbons "---Profiles in Courage for Our Time ~ Nonfiction ~ TBA" 11/23/02 10:04am profiles)

You do not necessarily have to read the book to join our discussions but it makes it much more fun if you do!

See you around Seniornet! - Ella and Harriet

December 2, 2002 - 08:34 pm
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