In 1990 I covered a reunion of the Army’s famous Rainbow Division, which served with distinction in both world wars, and was made famous by a fanciful Jimmy Cagney movie called The Fighting 69th. Some of those veterans entered federal service via the Ohio National Guard, and I interviewed a few of them.
One man, who clearly did not like reporters, sat alone in a corner while his comrades ate lunch. As he talked to me he grew angry, not at me, but at the way events unfolded at a pair of Ohio State Fairs.
“When we were first federalized they formed us up and took us to the state fair,” he said. “We got a lot of applause; girls kissed us, people couldn’t do enough for us.” He served in France, and came home after the war ended. After a long pause he told me the rest of it. “A bunch of us went to the fair again in 1920. We went in uniform and people turned away from us. We embarrassed them.” Sixty-nine years later, his pain was still audible.
There was no way to verify the story. I’ve lost the notes I made then, and 18 years later I don’t even recall his name. But I believed him then and I believe him now. He had no reason to lie.
The story is moving under any circumstances, but its effect was amplified by another reunion I’d witnessed eight weeks earlier, at Kent State University. It was the 20th anniversary of the 1970 anti-war demonstration on that school’s campus, which ended with the death of four students, now martyrs to any cause any left wingnut deems important. Its “theme” was reunion and reconciliation, and its star performer was former Senator George McGovern. At a press conference before the ceremonies began, a reporter was gauche enough to ask if any member of the Ohio National Guard had been invited to participate in this eventful reconciliation. The answer was no, of course. To this day, I regret not asking McGovern if events that took place in Cambodia after America left had changed his mind about America’s Southeast Asian experience and his opposition to it.p>I’m glad Mr. Buckles enjoys the respect and attention he deserves. I hope it comforts some of the men who, after doing their duty, didn’t get the aid and comfort they merited. After the danger has passed most soldiers are ignored or forgotten or dismissed as old news; that’s tragic. May it not happen to those coming home from the Middle East. br> — Edmund Dantes /p>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?