Cannon Fodder
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Cannon Fodder

The Church World

February 21, 1991

Spare us Catholics the pious whimperings about the disapportionate numbers of blacks in the military.

I will never forget the gasp and look of a renowned Cleveland neurologist when he realized the large number of Irish and other Catholics with him in the first wave of soldiers landing at the Normandy Invasion.

About 15 years ago over lunch, the neurologist was enticed to tell us about "Normandy". Disingenuously, I had him reflect on his associates in the landing craft and elsewhere preparing for the invasion. After awhile, my suspicions confirmed, I stated that he was reminding me of the disapportionate number of Catholic casualties in Vietnam. Brief silence. Illumination: With an anguished groan that startled others at nearby tables, his open-mouthed, wide-eyed, reddened face stammered, "I, I never ever thought of that."

In World War II, Marine divisions were regularly 50 percent Catholic (to 20 percent of the population). It was even worse for Catholics in World War I.

So, welcome to the cannon-fodder category, Black Americans. We Catholics were getting lonely.


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