It seems like every year Americans pause to realize that soldiers who fought in WWII are dropping like flies, and will soon begone. This half-second of "that sucks," mixed with, "oh, well," has been going on for a while, and the true message is lost: the grown ups are gone. We have to fend for ourselves now.
Baby Boomers are not going quietly into the night, but not in any heroic way, like our fathers are. We need someone to be there who can assure us that this mortality thing is OK, and that we can manage like they had to. Faced with literal starvation and death, they managed seemingly by some super-human strength, that God forgot to give us, to get through a massive, catasrophic economic distaster and the unstoppable assault of world facism.
Lucy's father, who worked as a union man his whole life, never getting rich, but providing for his family well, fell off a six-foot ladder on to his head while painting his house. He broke his neck in two places, fractured his skull, and almost blead to death but for two crack heads passing by who called 911 before stealing his cellphone and wallet, (oh, kids these days!).
He refused pain meds (he hates 'dope') and following surgery, he walked out of the hospital in four days. These are the tough guys who we're losing.
You know what? Faced with similar challenges, I think we'll make it too - some of us - because we have to.
On the other hand, we collectively continue along as a nation with our heads up our ass. For some reason, as evidenced by the last election, half of suburb country assumes everthing's all right, and the other half doesn't give a crap. Believe me, WWII veterans in their day would have inserted an army boot up Rick Perry's smarmy ass, while tossing the whole lot, including our milque toasty democrats, into the gutter where they belong.
On this Veteran's Day, use the Google machine to estimate the tens, if not hundreds of thousands of homeless vets on our streets. I can tell you from experience that many military families, if not most, are forced to claim food stamps and Medicaid for their peeps because we don't take care of the people who sacrifice the most for us.
Talk to vets about the quality of medical care they receive for service connected injuries, especially PTSD, traumatic amputations, and head injuries.
The generation we are losing would have marched on Washington and forced some modern-day McArthur to let loose the fire hoses and police dogs and make us all watch and experience the burning shame.
Sometimes I forget that shame died of old age.