A Single Hue

Michael Stover
6 min readJan 12, 2020

A World War II Novel

Chapter 1

I never imagined we would be labeled “The Greatest Generation.” Looking back, I admit we did accomplish great things. There were great enemies who presented great challenges, and there were even greater obstacles to overcome if we were to conquer those enemies. Not all of those obstacles were external.

While overcoming struggles with inadequate supply, insufficient training, and indiscriminate danger, we had to conquer our own fears, prejudices, and weaknesses. We had to grow up fast, learn fast, adapt faster, and even die fast. The vast enterprise of war didn’t allow much time for reflection or adjustment.

It was my privilege to serve with some great fellows. I remember them often. A half-heard voice, a familiar jaunty walk, a noise, or a scene will bring them back in living color. We were common people, reared through The Great Depression, and because we were told we had nothing to fear but fear itself, we simply chose to believe it and live our lives as best we could.

We hailed from the Deep South, the Midwest, the West Coast, the Northeast, and grew up in dirty slums, on poor farms, in idyllic city life, barren homesteads, and friendly small-town neighborhoods. Our differences, real and imagined, only highlighted the uniqueness of the enterprise in which we were engaged.

As only such a monumental undertaking can, the melting pot of war threw us willy-nilly into close proximity and forged us into a close-knit family. Mine was but a single hue that made up the color of war.

The Beginning

That tumultuous journey began for me shortly after Pearl Harbor. In my hometown of Albany, New York, the war news from Europe was all anyone ever talked about. The countries of Poland, France, England, and especially Germany, were at the forefront of everyone’s attention. Japan was hardly mentioned.

I suppose it was because we all shared the common misconception about the Japanese being nearsighted, bucktoothed, little men with backward ways. A never-remembered history lesson from high school could have altered our thinking. A small footnote called The Russo-Japanese War barely described a military conflict in which Japan whipped Russia to a standstill and halted its…