VETERANS~?

There was a hoary old saying to the effect that—

OLD SOLDIERS NEVER DIE

THEY SIMPLY FADE AWAY.

—many a true word. So moving along in a bus where old soldiers are at best quaint, or (more normally) a damned inconvenience; let’s dwell a pause and ponder …

PERSONALLY I THINK IT’SScreen Shot 2019-01-19 at 19.28.51.png

wonderful that (to a point) we are ‘war free’ at the moment*. So of course pop stars are in (and grunts are out).

1-animated-arrow-right    For the moment~!

‘Twas ever thus.

Further below is an observation made some decades ago—but before you plough through it let me warn it’s in ancient English (pre 2000) and may be a bit rough on minds accustomed to television.

A few generations ago when lads joined the British Army their sign-up papers used the demo name “Thomas Atkins”; soon the word ‘Tommy’ became shorthand for someone who’d signed up. Brit soldiers became known as ‘Tommies’.

WHAT PROVOKED THIS

spiel? A news article came in—

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12181798&fbclid=IwAR08ISYtUIoT_pwaApwb0IB8kR-BibeyH-HfSB06FKRuD4XYxJDlKkfaPbo

—so?

So here’s yer poem:

I WENT into a public ‘ouse to get a pint o’ beer, 
The publican ‘e up an’ sez, ” We serve no red-coats here.” 
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die, 
I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I: 
O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ ” Tommy, go away ” ; 
But it’s ” Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play, 
O it’s ” Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play. 

I went into a theatre as sober as could be, 
They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me; 
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls, 
But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls! 
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ ” Tommy, wait outside “;
But it’s ” Special train for Atkins ” when the trooper’s on the tide
The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide, 
O it’s ” Special train for Atkins ” when the trooper’s on the tide. 

Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap. 
An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit. 
Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul? “
But it’s ” Thin red line of ‘eroes ” when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll, 
O it’s ” Thin red line of ‘eroes, ” when the drums begin to roll.

We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too, 
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you; 
An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints, 
Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints; 
While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Tommy, fall be’ind,” 
But it’s ” Please to walk in front, sir,” when there’s trouble in the wind
There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind, 
O it’s ” Please to walk in front, sir,” when there’s trouble in the wind.

You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all: 
We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational. 
Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace. 
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Chuck him out, the brute! “
But it’s ” Saviour of ‘is country ” when the guns begin to shoot; 
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please; 
An ‘Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool – you bet that Tommy sees!

active service.gif

AND, AS AN AFTERTHOUGHT—

from the UK’s ‘Telegraph’ newspaper:

” … If we routinely refer to all soldiers as “heroes” too glibly these days, conflating true heroism with the random tragedy of being in the wrong place at the wrong time when a roadside bomb explodes, there is something undeniably heroic about the willingness of young men and women to risk everything for their country …”

sourced:  CLICK HERE 

We do, too, you know, blatheringly refer to non-heroes as heroes* …

Screen Shot 2019-01-19 at 20.22.12.png

 

dodododododo  dodododododo                                     dodo


* Why is that, do you think?

4 thoughts on “VETERANS~?

  1. Re: The telegraph article.

    There is no draft so soldiers are in uniform because they want to be – they are paid professionals, thus, when not ”at the front” will be deployed wherever it is felt there is a threat to civilians.

    Is it considered demeaning when Marines are deployed to guard an embassy?

    Terrorist bomb strikes/suicide bombers are a fact of life in many places so why should it be demeaning to deploy soldiers to deal with it, even if they are ”only ” security guards at malls?

    I am not sure I follow this journalist’s reasoning on this one.
    Maybe I’ve missed something? Wouldn’t be the first time.

    Like

    1. Romanticism, possibly? Or a bit behind the times. I believe the Yanks have a phrase “to serve and protect”, which when invoked covers a wide range of possibilities—and what else are our forces for? (Great to impress the naive with~!)

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I may have missed a bit here. I have to repeat that the current labelling and adulation for anyone in uniform is a wee bit sick-making.

      Now in NZ we seem to be going American with medals, I haven’t checked into it but it appears that everyone who joins gets a nice shiny medal—could be wrong. It was fascinating to get Yanks to explain their medals—
      “This is for joining the navy…”
      “Wow~!”
      “This is for firing a rarfle …”
      “Wow, again—”
      “This is for actually hittin’ near the target!”
      “Ye gods~!)
      “Yeah, it’s the Marksman Medal! Had I hit the target I’d ‘ve bin a Marksman Supremo, instead of just First Class!”

      So every man (now woman, soon dog too I suppose) is a hero? For being in uniform? Historically uniform was often ‘cos there was no dole … (or affordable air fares).

      Like

      1. Oops … this isn’t to denigrate Yanks, by the way. The more I study history—especially WW2—the more I realise what the Free World owes them.

        Like

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