I’m considered more than a little weird by those around me because I regularly connect with ‘dead people’. Rather than summoning the spirit world, my departed friends regularly come alive on my big flat screen. There’s Bogie who died more than 60 years ago. Before becoming a Hollywood legend, Humphrey DeForest Bogart served briefly as a teenager in the American navy at the end of World War One.
This morning I was watching Jimmy in an old MGM potboiler from the year 1939. Before he died in 1997 at the age of 89, James Stewart was entitled to be called Brigadier General, mainly for the bombing runs that he led over Germany during WW2. Jimmy probably could have found a way to stay home at MGM, but he wouldn’t dream of it. He was a member of a group that truly deserved to be known as ‘The Greatest Generation’. They knew what had to be done, and they stepped up and did it.
Watching their old black and white movies reminds of the poet’s line that we hear every November.
“They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old .. We will remember them”.
Most of the millions who put on the uniforms and took up arms in two world wars were not movie stars. Many of the Canadian ‘boys’ who joined up in 1939 didn’t even have jobs, having come through the Great Depression.
They were glad to receive a regular paycheque, and a chance to see the world. What many of them saw was much more than they ever imagined. Those who were lucky enough to come home when the shooting stopped had to park their nightmares in a closet somewhere, and suck it up.
It would be a long time before we would hear the term PTSD.
Most of those ‘boys’ are gone now.
To all of them, we can never say those words too often .. Thanks for your service.
I’m Roger Currie