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Taken from The Gorgon, Spring, 2000

A Brother-in-Law's Salute to a Euryale Man By Henry Gall

When I was a kid, and he was dating my sister Genny, Hank Succolosky was one of my heroes. Truth is, my brother-in-law Hank was a hero in real life, too. Along with my brother Andy and many other American boys, he fought in World War II to preserve what we knew then as our "American way of life."

The American way of life -- how that has changed! In those days we were poor, as were most of our friends and neighbors. Poor, but we proudly followed an established code of conduct: "For God and country." We were deeply aware of our personal role in supporting America's principles of patriotism and honor.

Today it is hard to recall that old sensation of pride welling up in my heart. That was a different time, when we Americans knew how to properly love and respect our country, a time when we all depended on the moral righteousness of our country and in turn, our country could depend on us. There was a unity among citizens then, and a feeling that we were all together as a nation.

It's a different America now. I am still proud, but a little disappointed. Some of our citizens are forgetting their heritage, allowing self interest and affluence to eclipse old-fashioned Americanism. It doesn't seem to be quite the same America that Hank and Andy and all those brave men fought for.

I visited Hank the other day. It was at a small cemetery in Scranton, Pa. and his grave marker is a reminder of his heroism in performing his duty for his country. Tears welled up in my eyes when I saw the American flag some veterans organization had placed there. Looking up I saw hundreds of American flags, tributes to brave men of that era when Americans were a proud and self-sacrificing people. Hundreds of flags, and this was no Arlington National Cemetery, just a final resting place for ordinary people, including heroes who survived an epic struggle to keep America and the world free.

They are almost all gone now, this fine generation of Americans who loved their country and answered its call. They are the 20th Century heroes, who helped us to know what Americanism is all about.

Sometimes we see our citizens trying to compromise the ideals that Hank and Andy fought for. Those of us who remember will never let that happen.

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