The Big O. on his grandfather in Dreams of My Father:
“Gramps returned from the war never having seen real combat, and the family moved to California, where he enrolled at Berkeley under the GI bill,” he writes. “But the classroom couldn’t contain his ambitions, his restlessness, and so the family moved again.”
The Big O. in New Mexico on Memorial Day:
“My grandfather marched in Patton’s Army, but I cannot know what it is to walk into battle like so many of you.”
The Big O. in a 2002 antiwar speech:
“My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton’s army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain.”
He thinks he’s conning people in a South Side church basement.