Sunday, September 29, 2013

"Thank You For Your Service"

This morning’s NYTimes  book section reviews the new book by David Finkel, Thank You For Your Service.

For several of the battalion’s survivors, who are struggling with a variety of psychological and physical ailments, home assumes an unrelenting immediacy that proves more baffling and tormenting than the war itself.

By chance, I was just now reading Oliver Goldsmith’s classic 18th-century essay “A Reverie at the Boar’s Head Tavern in Eastcheap”.   Here recounts the tale of a simple soldier, who,

by his courage and his conduct  in numberless battles, had obtained at last  a colonel’s commission …;  from several wounds, however, he was at last rendered incapable of following his master to the field:  wherefore he was considered as a piece of useless lumber, which is thrown aside to rot in a corner.  Soldiers then fought,  while their vigour remained, in defence of their country;  and in old age  were obliged to beg their bread thro’ those kingdoms which their valour had saved.

The same might be said, of many a miner, and many a ditch-digger, and many a gandy-dancer,  throughout time.

[Update Veterans Day 2013]

In Afghanistan, interpreters who helped U.S. in war denied visas; U.S. says they face no threat

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