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’S
wonderful that (to a point) we are ‘war free’ at the moment*. So of course pop stars are in (and grunts are out).
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—
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!
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* …
* Why is that, do you think?