By SKIP TUCKER, Alabama Daily News Featured Columnist
A bit of song today, perhaps, for Forebears. The time of the year is right, if I can fit the tune to words and rhythm.
Mine is the Boomer generation, Baby Boom being the explosion of newborn to homecoming WWII warriors, themselves the sons of sons of rugged men who walked west from Virginia and Carolina and Georgia.
As Frost sort of said, those doughty pioneers had no measure for a man except as how he handled an ax. For so well as he handled an ax, so he could handle a plow. And his fists; and how such hands would fit to a gun, long or short.
Those settling northwest Alabama ultimately turned to the soil, became coal miners, loggers and farmers, taking sustenance from black earth. Hardy as hell, they were a generation made for war and it’s a damn good thing, because war sure as hell came to them.
So, some 70 years ago, they and those like them went overseas in their millions, died in their tens of thousands, and of those who returned, of those who carried weapons onto a battlefield, none returned the same as s/he left.
Seventy years is plenty of time for foreign soil to forget Americans who died on it, for it. My Bride and I honeymooned in Paris and did touristy things like a bus excursion. As we neared the Arc de Triomphe, the taped narration waxed fulsome about French Resistance. It largely credited it for singlehandedly whipping the Germans. Not a single word was said about the Ugly American, but the exclusion was loud and clear.
It strikes me now the tour company might’ve been reminded that except for US, the narration could’ve been in German, that Adolf himself stood on a Paris balcony, surrounded by his army, and gazed on the Eiffel Tower. We threw him out.
Even back in the day, a story says a French Ambassador, following D-Day, sneeringly asked an American general how much French property the US would expect for its intervention. The general replied, “Just enough for us to bury our dead.”
The staid British were appalled by the brashness of American warriors. One complained wryly, “You Yanks. You’re overpaid, oversexed, and over here.” England would’ve become the smallest German-speaking nation in the world.
The mists of time have shrouded American heroism and clouded minds in countries that owe it. So they sneer. I sneer right back.
I am, by God, an American, and relatively serene about it. I remain fully cognizant of serious problems that surround and permeate my country. Internal strife is a threat serious as any external. It is our own doing, and needs undoing.
Can’t think how right now, curse it. If a solution occurs, I will pass it along at once. As for now, just pass the turkey and dressing, please, with cranberry and a dab of gravy, and I’ll think on it.
Happy Thanksgiving. I’m grateful, among many things, for Family and for Friends and for Readers who lend me their ears, eyes and especially attention, as my own seems ever fleeting.
(Next week: Our Old Friend DT Confustigates and Befuddles A Damn Yankee at Thanksgiving.)