Veterans Day Reflections By L.E.Taylor
The historian, Stephen Ambrose, author of Band of Brothers, said in an interview, that on D-Day, June 6th 1944 the men who took the Normandy beachheads were mostly privates and corporals led by sergeants and other corporals, because within an hour of landing most of the officers were dead.
Those privates and corporals and sergeants were in their teens and early twenties. When I was a small boy, these men were my heroes.
A twenty-year old in 2013 may not think he’ll find common ground with men and women who occupied his place on our mortal stage a century or two ago. Regrettably, in too many respects, he’d be right. But this soul-stunting myopia is not a flaw in the DNA of today’s youth; it’s born of ignorance. Misconceptions about history can beget a hubris that childishly crows, “We are who we’ve been waiting for!”
History books are not about old, dead people. They are mostly about young people.
The green kids of 2013 have neither experienced, nor been educated about the heroics of green kids who came before. My regret is not that these young men have no wars to test them, certainly today’s troubled society has no shortage of need for creative energy and youthful valor.
Young people who’ve read my book, Elgan and Grace, A Twentieth Century Saga, have remarked (with maybe a tinge of doubt), how different from their own friends, these Americans of earlier generations seemed to be. Still, the anecdotes that comprise that carefully crafted book are true; otherwise, why bother?
The heroes of my childhood were not all conscripted warriors. They were mostly the tough-minded men and women in my life who held together the home front. But for all their virtues, neither those who went to war nor those who remained Stateside were perfect. They simply did their best in a time of peril.
As 2014 approaches, who are society’s heroes that will grace the pages of our history? What are their great accomplishments that reflect our American values and esteem our sacred virtues as a civilization?
We’ll see. Say your prayers.
Which brings us to your Veteran’s Day treat for having so patiently stayed with my ramble. Get comfortable now, good reader; turn on your speakers, and enjoy a few minutes with Spitfire 944, and a green kid who really was a hero. Click here –> American Spitfire Pilot in WWII .
Ambrose, Stephen E.; Band of Brothers; Simon & Schuster; NYC.
Ambrose, Stephen E.; D-Day; Ibid.
Ambrose, Stephen E.; Citizen Soldiers; Ibid.
Taylor, L. E.; Elgan and Grace; Friesen Press; Victoria B.C., Canada