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lest we forget... - The Villages

Date: 2008-10-26 01:15
Subject: lest we forget...
Security: Public
Music:News 24
There are now only two British survivors of World War I, Henry Allingham and Harry Patch. Henry Allingham is also Britain's oldest man, and the story of his life does kind of bring you face-to-face with how much the world has changed within a single - if unusually-long - human lifetime. Once these men are gone, the First World War will have passed out of living memory. That might sound kind of an obvious thing to say, but I work with a lad in his twenties for whom World War I occupies roughly the same misty historical location as the Boer War and the Battle Of Hastings. For those of us who are old enough to have had grandparents who fought in the conflict, it's rather more than that.
I was rather startled by part of Simon Schama's The American Future - A History which I caught on television last weekend, which showed footage of FDR making a speech at Gettysburg in 1938 or 1939, at which veterans of the battle of Gettysburg were present. We're used to an accelerating pace of change and innovation these days, but just imagine being a veteran of Gettysburg and living long enough to see the effects of Pearl Harbour or the Blitz. More had changed in their lifetimes than probably in the liftimes of their parents, their grandparents and their great-grandparents.
Incidentally, a colleague interviewed Henry Allingham earlier this week, and was rather delighted to report that "he still enjoys the rustle of a skirt."
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2008-10-26 06:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
What an interesting article! Mr. Patch's words struck me as particularly touching.

Speaking of connections to the the US Civil War, last August was the passing of the last "publicly documented widow of a Confederate soldier", Maudie Hopkins. (Articles allude to two others remaining that do not wish to be under public scrutiny.) She had been 19 when she married the octogenarian in 1934.

It is odd to know that our direct connections with the 19th century are all but completely gone. Somehow, when I was 10 or so, I got it in my head to ask people I knew who had born in the 19th century to tell me about what they could remember about it and about the first time they saw an airplane. Oh what stories I heard!

-the other jean-marie
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User: mylefteye
Date: 2008-10-26 09:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The thing that strikes me when I read how much the world has changed in the last hundred years is how resilient and accepting we are as a species. We roll with the bad stuff and take miracles for granted.
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User: sarcobatus
Date: 2008-10-26 17:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Well said!
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User: hutch0
Date: 2008-10-27 22:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You're right about rolling with the bad stuff, but sometimes I wish we'd pay a bit more attention to the miracles.
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