These times, they are a'changin..
These times, they are a’changin…
When I was a child…and I see your eyes glazing over already.
Is it really that boring, listening to someone rhapsodize about their life experiences?
I mean, I know that it doesn’t have flashing lights, a bass line, or a sidebar that promises an Iphone if you’ll just click on the writing pen, but honestly…
John Babcock, the last WWI veteran died this year.
He was born in 1900. That’s hard to fathom, when my youngest was born in 2004.
Take a moment to process that. He was born on the brink of a fresh century. He wasn’t allowed on the front lines, because he enlisted when he was 16.
My eldest is 14. Going to be 15 this year.
I can’t imagine her putting her life on the line to defend her country.
Peace came just a few short months after his 18th birthday. He regretted not having been a “real soldier”.
These days, he would’ve been tossed an Rx for Welbutrin, and been shunted into a lifetime of therapy for his “violent tenancies”.
I spent a good amount of time in my late teens and early adulthood listening to stories told by veterans. The hospital that managed to save my leg was also home to a veteran’s wing, and they liked my company. I mean, sure, we played checkers for shots and cribbage for cigarettes, but the longer I spent around these men, the more I heard.
I know what it feels like to have your leg severed, and to be hauled rough back to be patched up, and then sent home.
To be drawn together by a common goal, and then to lose those people, and to still have to go on fighting, alone.
When I was unable to visit, usually due to being confined to bed, some of them would visit. I know how much to pay for a prostitute in Korea (at least, back then)
I never knew John Babcock, but I knew many men (and women) like him. Proud and eager to sign up, and saddened that they couldn’t do more then they had for their country.
It should be said. I come from staunch Hippy stock. My dad sported long hair well into his 40’s. My mother kept inviting indigent refugees over to our house.
Both strong believers in the unions that today appear bloated, wasteful, and impeding the lines of communication between workers and management, it wasn’t always that way.People are both more knowledgeable, and more ignorant then they’ve been before, at least in my lifetime. There is so little practical knowledge being passed down, and along with that comes an ennui of spirit. A blase, “who gives a fuck” attitude that concerns me greatly, as if nothing’s real, and therefore unimportant. So long as the newest episodes of Top Supermodel air on time, people are lulled back into the warm lassitude of “someone else’s problem”.
Well said, Jesse. I can't serve (they don't take cripples.), but I have unending respect for those that are now serving or have in the past, as it allows for our way of life. I also agree that we, as a country, seem to be losing sight of the work ethic that got our country where it is today.
I just don't want to be that old chick standing on my porch, thumping my cane and bitching about the younger gen..
Well, hell. I'm most of the way there already.
I'm there too, don't feel bad.
Oh, I don't feel bad. I was just sayin'.
Nice to have excuses.
I'm fascinated by the generation of individuals who fought in WWI (called the Lost Generation by demographers); they got the short end of the stick in just about every circumstance (forced to fight in a heinous war we more or less lost and that did nothing but destabilize a whole region, forced to then pay for G.I. benefits for the following generation that fought in a consensus-driven war). I think their grit and charm is far too unsung. Great post!
Hopefully, their tales will be told and their histories documented before they fade into the ether of memory.