Monday, June 7, 2010

Lost Generations.

Good Evening Gentle Folk.

I was awaiting my appointment time, in the VA clinic this morning, and was pursuing my usual habit of people watching and listening,when it dawned on me that I was seeing an Illustration of Generations in the Tableau that was playing out in front of me.

There were Veterans waiting to have their blood drawn, or for other tests, and it seemed to me obvious which of these men, (they just happened to be all men today), were in my guesstimation probably of what Tom Brokaw called the Greatest Generation.

I am sure that most of us agreed with Brokaw on this designation, in that never before in recorded American History have so many taken on such an incredible task, with the certain knowledge that fully a third of them would either not return home to their loved ones,or possibly in a metal box. And of the "lucky" ones,those who made it home alive, many of them would be maimed in body or mind to such an extent that they could never again be so free and easy with thoughts of Liberty and taking their lives for granted , but instead, as evidenced by these few Old Men I observed this morning, keep their own council, and reserve their memories for those which, unbidden , come of their own volition, and with the contagion of long habit, in their dreams and in their waking Nightmares.

The few Old Men, and they were, in truth, only in some cases Ten or so years older than I, were distinguishable to me, by their silent observation of the younger Veterans of who served long after their(The World War II) Generation. The younger veterans, one in particular, almost never stopped talking, to all and sundry, and the older guys never stopped listening, in a bemused manner, as if to say "If you had only seen".

I do not in the slightest mean to demean those of succeeding Generations and of succeeding Wars, whatever their size, but I'd venture to say that none of them had ever seen one or two Thousand or more Dead Soldiers, laid out in neat rows, most with only a Poncho over their faces, and a Dogtag wedged between their front Teeth, waiting with the Stiffness of the Dead, for shipment or Burial, for later recovery by Graves Registration troops.

We have lost far-far too many troops in succeeding wars, and often it is difficult to find any sort of a justification for their sacrifice, but rather leave it to their grieving survivors to justify this, as they must, to retain their sanity during their loss. I suspect it is always easy for those lucky ones of us to say that these Heroes died for their Country, but that, like all labels, cannot hold `til self applied. We lack the experience to know fully of their sacrifice.And those of us who had a peaceful and uneventful service in the Military, cannot even begin to even try to understand what ALL combat veterans know.

So, perhaps, Brokaw was right in calling this the Greatest Generation, and not just the Brave men and women who served in the Military, but those left at home, who also served in ways they had never imagined having to do, in order to help in the War Effort.

So, in the just aftermath of Memorial Day, let us all at least stop for a moment to say Thank You to that Noble Generation.

And to Pledge that we will never forget.

Not just the" Greatest Generation" but those Generations of Americans before that, and those that have followed,in the sometimes necessary folly that is War.Let us pray, too, that no other Generation will ever have to sacrifice in such numbers that their Generation will, forever after, be identified mostly with the conflict in which they served.

Be Well


1 comment:

JT said...

It is good to visit your blog again and I can see you still have that wonderful way with words. Have you ever considered writing a novel? May God Bless You.