THE BLOG
04/07/2013 07:27 pm ET | Updated Jun 07, 2013

Lucky Strikes

Today, my father would have been 90.

My dad was a corpsman with the 3rd Marines at Guadalcanal and Bougainville during World War Two. He was 17 and often spent nights in the jungle holding a wounded buddy in his arms, fighting to save the soldier's life as he murmured for his mom or sweetheart and then slipped away. I can see my dad now in my mind's eye, letting go of the dead Marine and reaching for another Lucky Strike.

The old Lucky Strike green packaging had grown starkly red as the war went on. Green was in high demand in those days for uniforms, camouflage and paint for tanks and jeeps. Lucky Strike took advantage of the color of the times by announcing, "Lucky Strike Green Has Gone To War!" The tobacco folks made sure of it by sending millions of free packs of cigarettes to American soldiers overseas, quickly addicting them to a drug that would kill them with even less mercy than the enemy, plus it would take a lot longer.

With any luck, I make it to 90. I'll be 67 in another few months. He was 63 when he died in a thrall of convulsions resulting from the tobacco which had destroyed his heart and his lungs and his spirit. I held him in my arms as he quivered into unconsciousness and I helped pull the plug so he could finally die.

It's hard to watch as Medicare is offered up for cuts while taxes are increased on virtually everything but tobacco. I agree with my politically conservative friends. Let's not raise taxes on tobacco.

Let's ban it!