Monday, November 11, 2019

Re-Running Last Year's Post: Veterans... ARE Immigrants.

We will re-run this, from a year ago, to remind that [many, if not most] veterans are also. . . of fairly recent immigrant stock.

We Were Just First Generation Irish (And Hungarian) Immigrants, Then: Armistice Day, 100 Years On.

Dateline: November 2018 -- It has been one full century now, this morning -- when at the stroke of noon, the shelling and shooting ceased.

It was the end of the "war, to end all wars. . ." [Though it didn't (even remotely) turn out that way.] But WW I was now. . . over, and my grandfather, at right -- just a first generation immigrant then, with only an eighth grade formal education -- was to board a ship, and return home from France. Home, to the Rockies -- of the West.

Mother Ireland, in County Cork, was no longer home. These United States were. . . home. Yes we were. . . immigrants. That is our legacy. This Veterans Day, I whole-heartedly thank all who served our nation, and have passed on.

Each and every one of the enlisted deserve our honor, our gratitude and our enduring respect. And we must remember that most of those who died, for America, in each of the "great wars", was first or second generation -- at best.

So, it is also incumbent on each of us as voters -- as stewards, if you will -- of these lives, to think clearly before we commit our troops -- sons and daughters, brothers, sisters and cousins -- to a cause that is in truth no more than a political stunt -- our troops are sleeping 20 to a tent, in Southern California, Arizona and Texas, of all places (getting no combat pay, despite being "deployed" -- away, from the comfort of a base) -- with no air conditioning, little running water -- and being asked to "guard" a border no one is seriously threatening. Some two months from now, "huddled masses, yearning to breathe free air. . ." will arrive there -- and seek entirely lawful asylum. That is all.

And so, today, we should all keep in mind what a then 20 year-old soldier had scribbled in pencil, and left in his mess kit, shortly before his own death -- in the trenches of World War I France -- three years before the Armistice ended that killing:

When you see millions of the mouth-less dead

Across your dreams in pale battalions go,

Say not soft things as other men have said,

That you’ll remember. For you need not do so.

Give them not praise. For, deaf, how should they know

It is not curses heaped on each gashed head?

Nor tears. Their blind eyes see not your tears flow.

Nor honour. It is easy to be dead.

Say only this, ‘They are dead.’ Then add thereto,

‘Yet many a better one has died before.’

Then, scanning all the o’ercrowded mass, should you

Perceive one face that you loved heretofore,

It is a spook. None wears the face you knew.

Great death has made all his for evermore.

-- Charles Hamilton Sorley (1915)

For his part, my grandfather returned strong, hale and whole, from the "great war" -- to live on. . . to see another seven decades of peace and prosperity -- to work in the mines, marry the love of his life, run a mountain Post Office, see his fine children grow into late middle age, and adore all of his many, many grandchildren (and by the time of his own peaceful passing, to have held and adored with crinkled Irish eyes, at least a handful of his now many, many great-grandchildren). Not so, this other Charles (as quoted above). And so -- I do give honor, respect and gratitude to those who fell, in the causes of our nation. I just ask that we all be very careful about which causes we choose, henceforth.

Do go to truly love one another. I do so, with a call for all of us (in the EU and the US) to be more open: to open our borders, to peoples fleeing oppression. . . . That is freedom's. . . beacon for all. Pax tecum. . . .


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