But that's another story, one he won't tell now, because words have deserted him – the three or four languages he had at his command gone with a series of small strokes, the attrition of age, aphasia . . . Can you imagine: cut off from the sound of human voices, and from your own voice? You can read just, inch by inch, up close, and your fine motor control isn't up to more than two or three words before it goes haywire.
Now, look up. Address the world fairly in whatever phonemes you can muster. Put a bold foot forward. In the words of early Quaker George Fox, "Walk cheerfully over the world . . ."
We have never been a family for filial piety, still less for hero-worship. I have no idea whether he was a brave man in that war, or simply human. But looking at my father now, the way he bears his old age . . . I call that a bit heroic.