When I was a kid, I read a great many books, but there were only a few that I pored over obsessively. One of my favorites was Up Front, by Bill Mauldin. My father was a WWII veteran and a Mauldin fan; I found this book of his cartoons, which were originally published in Stars and Stripes, lying around the house, and was hooked. I knew all of the cartoons by heart and pretty much memorized the text, which was also excellent. For a while I tried to produce my own cartoons, but gave up on account of the fact that I can’t draw. Mauldin’s heroes, Willie and Joe, were dogfaces. Much of what I think I know about war came from them. A long time went by when not many people seemed to be interested in honoring men like Willie and Joe, but that, fortunately, has changed. Bill Mauldin died today. May he rest in peace. This link will take you to some of his classic cartoons from Up Front.
Here is just one of my favorites:
“I feel like a fugitive from the law of averages.”
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill