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So many memories...


Ya know what's a funny thing?  Time.  I got to thinking about time when I read an item about Barry and Joe visiting Arlington National Cemetery to pay their respects to Frank Buckles.  Frank was America's last living World War One veteran.  He was totally venerable - living to the ripe old age of 110.

My mind started wandering to what I might have said to his assembled family under such circumstances if I were President.  Without having a staff to brief me and otherwise unfamiliar with Frank's station in life, the first thing that leaps out at me is the enormity of the events through which his life was intertwined.

Born in Nineteen Ought One.  To paraphrase Andrew "Dice" Clay, "Remember the 20th Century?  Frank f#%@d her."  A body could get a PhD in 20th Century history, right, so it's impractical to even begin laying out what Frank saw in his lifetime.  But a couple of highlights popped into my mind.

The automobile, Human flight, Telephone, Television, Prohibition, The Big One in which Frank fought, The Great Depression, WWII, Cold War, Berlin Airlift, Israel, Baby Boom, Korean War, Cuban Missile Crisis, Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War, The Ramones, Berlin Wall falling, 9/11, Afgan/Iraq wars...

Some lifetime.  Frank also saw twenty different men elected as President in his 110 years.  Which would be, if I was President, a pretty humbling thing.  Just another in a long line of men entrusted with the keys to the Oval Office.  Like all things in life, I imagine Frank might say, "Sometimes you get chicken, sometimes you get feathers..." if you ever asked him about it.

I figure Frank - and I probably should be calling him Mr. Buckles, no disrespect intended - was full of pithy, homespun wisdom.  "It's like when you're having ham and eggs for breakfast, the chicken is participating but the pig is committed," he'd always say.   Sitting in a trench cursing the guy who came up with the idea of urinating on the gas mask that's saving your life to activate it before a mustard gas attack really hones one's sardonic wit.

Anyway, I have no way of knowing what was said between Barry, Joe, and the Buckles clan and quite frankly have no desire to know.  But what does strike me is how Frank's lifetime compares with Obama's current situation.  Echoing a frighteningly common refrain from the New York Times, Obama recently waxed melancholy over how much easier it would be if he were Premier of China.  No shit?  Why not go all-in with Grand Poobah ala Kim Jung-il?

Obama's biggest problem is a lack of perspective on his place in history.  Did he really think being President was an easy job?  Does he really think the current events he was elected to manage are unprecedented in their scale and volume?

If so, then call me a Birther.  He wasn't born in Kenya.  He was deposited on Earth by extraterrestrials.  America was hoodwinked into electing a utter nincompoop.  You want renewable energy?  Install turbines near Lincoln, FDR, JFK, LBJ, and Reagan's final resting places to harness the force of their bodies spinning in their respective graves.

The events of Frank's lifetime didn't happen in a vacuum independent of one another.  Surprisingly enough, they often required the vision and active leadership of the so-called Leader of the Free World to engineer and manage.  Not only that, things don't always break in an nice, orderly, sequential fashion.  Life's a bitch, and she's a surly, unforgiving one at that.

I spent eight long years defending President Bush in a "My mother, drunk or sober" kind of way but at least he could pour piss out of a boot if you told him the instructions were on the sole.  Thankfully, we can look to Frank for guidance as we endeavor to persevere.  He kept plugging along for one hundred and ten years.  Sixty years from now we'll all be able to look back and laugh at the folly of President Barack Obama.  We'll see better and God help us we'll probably see worse.

See ya in Valhalla when I get there, Mr. Buckles.   Godspeed and good hunting.

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Comments (11)

"America was hoodwinked int... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"America was hoodwinked into electing a utter nincompoop."

While the MSM was complicit, you also have to acknowledge the intellectual level of 52% of the general population. After all, some of 'the smartest people' in the world voted for him. They'd tell you that themselves, but right now they're keeping their mouths shut.

Great Post BVO,I h... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Great Post BVO,

I had the great fortune to know my Great-grandmother, she was born in 1888 and lived until 1993. She knew her own Great-grandmother who was born in 1782, and was also able to spend some time with my own kids, who's lifespans will easily reach into the 2080's. That's an incredible reach - spanning and touching lives in three different centuries.

She lived through a time before rural electrification, automobiles, and airplanes. She didn't have the right to vote until her 30's, and she could speak about the suffrage movement with excitement - like it happened yesterday. She was a woman of letters, and could compose one for every occasion, with a unique cadence and prose all her own (such mastery and skill sets are rare today).

All my life she was the picture of an immaculate silver-haired woman, she never seemed to age or change - except she got shorter in her last couple of decades. Once when I was escorting her home - she got tired of walking (and didn't want to take the bus)... So she hiked up her ankle length dress to her knee, put her foot on the curb, and stuck out her thumb to hitch-hike. Which was hilarious, and I fell to the ground laughing myself silly - she had a very keen sense of humor.

And the stories she knew. Here's one: Back before the AMA, if someone had an broken skin infection (-i.e.- red streaks beneath the skin), they would take a stone out of the heart of a deer, soak it in milk, and then sponge the wound with it. The heart-stone would then be returned to the milk and rinsed - and the milk would turn green. The green milk would be replaced by fresh, and the process repeated until the milk didn't change color anymore, and that is how wound infections were treated.

Things like that, and there were many, I could never learn on my own in my lifetime. She was one awesome lady - My Great-grandmother. So, if you are lucky, and have the opportunity to spend some time with the elder generation, especially those that are 100+ (AKA centurions), then do so now... and take you kids too (if you have them)...while there is still time.

Semper Fidelis-

Did he really think bein... (Below threshold)
John P. Squibob:

Did he really think being President was an easy job?

Before he took office, Kennedy asked Eisenhower for any advise about the job. Ike basically told him All of your decisions will be hard. And to emphasize how much Kennedy understood that, there's a picture of Kennedy talking with Ike at Camp David, right snack-dab in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Methinks the Boy-King would have ignored advise whomever his predecessor was.

Surprisingly enough, the... (Below threshold)
wolfwalker:

Surprisingly enough, they often required the vision and active leadership of the so-called Leader of the Free World to engineer and manage.

Don't forget that Corporal Buckles also saw empires rise and fall, and the position of "leader of the free world" change hands across the Atlantic. In 1901, all eyes looked to Europe for world diplomatic leadership, and particularly the British Prime Minister, who ruled an empire that spanned the globe. The United States was heavily isolationist, absorbed in developing its own frontier, and generally ignored by the Old World.

Today the British Empire is a rotted-out hulk, and the American president is (for the moment) the "leader of the free world."

Boy kind likes the perks, b... (Below threshold)
cali:

Boy kind likes the perks, but not the work-he's furious of being 'critisised'.

"Human flight"Not ... (Below threshold)
yetanotherjohn:

"Human flight"

Not to be pedantic about it, but you are talking about human heavier than air powered flight. Human flight was in the 1700's.

I have had similar thoughts about the last three generations. My gradnfather was born before the first heavier than air powered flight and he lived to see the first flights into space. My father was born when buplanes where the height of aviation and he lived to fly jets and see men walking on the moon. I was born in the year of the first human travel into space and I have lived to see NASA exit the human space travel and potentially the first free enterprise steps into space via the X-prize. My boys where born after the Challenger tragedy. What will they see?

Obama reminds me of some of... (Below threshold)
mag:

Obama reminds me of some of the bosses I had...they love all the perks, big bucks and fancy titles, but did very little work and what work they did do was disaster...and then they left the place in a mess, until finally a new boss was hired that had to set things straight. After one boss left, some of the people had to re-learn the concept of working for what you were paid for. The boss did not work and he did not expect the people under him to work..it was all fun and games....sounds a lot like Obama.

Sixty years from n... (Below threshold)
Jeff H:
Sixty years from now we'll all be able to look back and laugh at the folly of President Barack Obama.
You're assuming they allow laughter in Chinese concentration camps.
Thank you for writing this ... (Below threshold)

Thank you for writing this article which I found moving and funny. I heard about the recent death of Mr. Buckles and also wondered about all the changes he experienced in his long life.

When I became a grandmother two years ago I realized how important it is to preserve our memories for the next generation. As a former New Yorker who remembers the WTC being built, I am attempting to preserve memories of 9/11 for future generations. Personal stories that their history books won't teach them.

If anyone reading this would like to contribute their stories please visit www.eileenofarrell.com. 100% of profits from my proposed book are pledged to military and veteran organizations.

[quote]Thankfully, we can l... (Below threshold)
Arclight:

[quote]Thankfully, we can look to Frank for guidance as we [i]endeavor to persevere.[/i][/quote]

Nice OUTLAW JOSIE WALES reference.

If we get worse than Obama,... (Below threshold)
Ryan:

If we get worse than Obama, there won't be any country left.




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