Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

My Father, Sgt. Israel Katzman on Veteran’s Day, 11/11/2018, a Century After the 1st World War Ended in 1918…by Robert M. Katzman

What about my Dad?
The kid who was the son of two Jewish immigrants and was named Israel?
The kid whose teachers told him when he was about to graduate grammar school that it was his last chance to “Americanize” his name on his degree, from Israel to Irving so he would “fit in” better to American society. We all know how well that idea turned out. Imagine some teacher saying that to a kid today? “Irving” remained “Izzy” to his friends, tho’.
Israel, nearly 30 years old, joined the US Army on St Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1942, along with 12 other Jewish guys from the old neighborhood. His younger brother Milt was already in the army as an MP, and his tour was ending when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Israel became a sergeant with the Signal Corps teaching other men how to send vital messages from the battlefields with a telegraph key. He worked under General Douglas MacArthur, whom he met only once and felt was a “pompous ass”.

(Read on …)

Farewell My Dead Sergeant: Sayonara / Shalom / Goodbye…by Robert M. Katzman

By Robert M. Katzman © September 12, 2015  

(Revised: Memorial Day May 31, 2021)


My Father fought the Japanese

Born before the Navahos were citizens

Born before women could vote

Before Hirohito, Yamamoto and Tojo

Before Meir, Dayan and Herzl

Before Eisenhower, Patton and FDR

Were names on anyone’s lips


Packed into trains of troop ships

Crossing the Pacific Ocean

To avenge Pearl Harbor treachery

To kill people he didn’t know

Bombed sending messages by telegraph

He died with steel shrapnel

Still in his body

Half a century later

(Read on …)

1944: The American Soldier and the Filipina Singer…by Robert M. Katzman

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© May 24, 2011

First Bedtime Story for MJ, by her or his (currently deceased) Great-Grandfather Israel, to the (as yet) unborn great-grandchild, as told to, once upon a time, the present grandfather-to-be.

Dear MJ,

On the first day of Spring, in 1912, I was in the same situation as you are right now in May 2010.  Meaning, I was comfortably parked in my mom’s tummy at the end of my first three months.

I don’t remember that time, and you won’t either, but since I’m no longer walking the Earth, and you aren’t born yet, we are also both in the same sort of situation of not being able to communicate directly with each other.  No matter.

I have subconsciously willed my son, your grandfather, Grampa Bob, to write this story for you, because one day he will tell it to you, and after that you will read it for yourself.  If stories aren’t written down, especially family history stories, they just float away into the clouds.  I can’t take a chance with this one, since it is actually centered on you, MJ.  It has love, war, danger, “faraway places with strange sounding names”, some twists and turns and a pretty good ending, too, because I don’t want to let my great-grandchild down.

I told my son many stories when he was a small boy, because I am a story teller, as was my father Jacob, before me.  I lived long enough to see your Grampa Bob become a pretty good story teller himself.  Must be in the blood.  It could be that you will be one, too, one day.  Well, here’s a tip about that, MJ:

People love a good story.  Not too long, with a good beginning, a solid middle, and an ending worth waiting for.  This story has all that, and you can start practicing  writing your own stories, after reading this one about your ancestors, when you begin to feel the need to write them down.  And you will.  Just wait.  Because I will be waiting for you to get there, MJ, and I have all the time in the world. Here we go:

(Read on …)