Bohdan Andrij Sahan
West Point, 1966
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Ed Wright on March 13, 2009:
Bo and I shared our first two years at West Point in Company H-2 (Later redesignated B-4 when the Corps was reorganized into four regiments).
Bo gave his origins as Ukrainian, which is why we always thought of him as our "Mad Russian", especially when he recounted how his family had welcomed the German 'liberation' of the Ukraine with open arms early in WWII, only to be horrified at their atrocities against the Ukrainians as the war progressed. However, as the Russians pushed the Germans, Bo, often with head in hands, and woeful moans, would tell how his family had to flee with the Germans out of fear of retribution by advancing Soviet forces and partisans. And then, as the Germans lost the war, how they had to struggle to get to a refugee camp controlled by the Americans so they could be admitted to the US. [Copious 'Woe is Me's' worthy of a Russian novel]. After a number of years they succeeded and settled in upstate New York in Buffalo. Apparently, this relocation fit Bo's soul as the cold weather and dark, prolonged winters provided the basis for the story to unfold further dirges.
Plebe year in H-2 added to Bo's litany of persecution, which had the curious effect of reducing the sense of oppression the rest of us H-2 Plebes felt because Bo's burdens were clearly so much worse than our own, a "Job's Comforter" in reverse. This must have carried on, for his Howitzer entry by a classmate notes that his Cow and Firstie years made him a Double Century Man walking tours on the Area. But, Ukrainian that he was, Bo endured the unendurable. And, he graduated! Then, Fate intervened in December of our Graduation Year and Bo was taken from us. Perhaps Omar Khayyam (and Edward Fitzgerald who translated from the Persian) had Bo in mind: ...
Oh, threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise!
One thing at least is certain -- This life flies;
One thing is certain and the rest is Lies;
The flower that once has blown for ever dies.
Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who
Before us pass'd the door of Darkness through,
Not one returns to tell us of the Road,
Which to discover we must travel too.
The Ball no question makes of Ayes and Noes,
But Here or There as strikes the Player goes;
and He that toss'd you down into the Field,
He knows about it all - HE knows - HE knows!
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all your tears wash out a Word of it.
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