I was born in 1948 and grew up in a neighborhood filled with veterans living in brand new houses with their brand new families. Among them was a wealth of experience, a marine who'd fought across the Pacific, another who'd survived a kamikazi strike and my father who'd been in combat in North Africa, Sicily, Normandy and across Europe. Us kids - us boys anyway - were hungry to hear about their heroism. In the evenings four or five of them would gather in a front yard and quietly, yet intensely, talk. My friends and l would edge up in the hope of learning something about their exploits. As we drew closer the men would get nervous and baseball or the new Ford would take over their conversation. It wasn't that they didn't want to share their experiences, they just wanted to keep it among themselves, among those who'd understand.