Is past really prologue?

A Senior View

August 3, 2011 

A couple of days ago I was shopping in Fresno. My wife says that if we had a Walmart and a Long John Silver's in Oakhurst we wouldn't go to Fresno any more. I was in the checkout line when a teenage boy standing behind me pointed at the ball cap I was wearing and asked if I really had been in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

When I told him I had been on active duty with the Navy during all those conflicts (one war, two "police actions") he asked me who it was we fought in Korea and how did it end. Who won it?

He went on to say that even though his grandfather had fought in Vietnam, he didn't know much about that one either. Who won it?

Now, here's a kid that very likely could end up in Afghanistan or some other hell hole and being asked the same questions by another teenager, 20 years down the line.

Kinda' makes you wonder if all the answers sound pretty much the same, don't it?

I had to tell my teenage questioner that in reality, WWII was the last war we really won and that it ended with the complete subjugation of our enemies, with no excuses for winning it ... or how we won it.

However, in the case of Korea and Vietnam, the issues were never really resolved and we still have American military in those countries a half century later.

Beginning to sound familiar?

But, by that time, I'd moved up to the cashier and I needed a quick, final assessment ... an answer to the boy's questions.

I couldn't do it. Could you have?

Seems to me like the kid ought to be able to get some answers from a guy like me before he has to make a commitment himself.

Kinda' pushes that "Past is Prologue" bit, don't it?

I'll tell you one part of our history I'd like to see repeated: When we stayed home and minded our own business.

Grandpa Sez' ... "Tell ya what ... why don't we quit the United Nations and tell everybody that we've got some work to do at home."

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