Monday, May 28, 2007

Specimen Days


I. To my ancestors and relatives among the war dead, some of whom survived their wars and some of whom did not, a partial list:

Benjamin Wheeler, Maryland militia, American Revolution, Battle of Germantown.

Laurence Thompson, 1st North Carolina, Battle of Moores Creek Bridge.

Thomas Wheeler, War of 1812.

Samuel France, American Civil War. Company E, 31st Indiana Volunteers. Wounded at Shiloh and Stones River.

Jeremiah France, Indiana infantry, died of encephalitis, buried in Indianapolis.

Ira Slack, 85th Indiana Volunteers, KIA, Resaca, Georgia.

Absalom Wheeler, Indiana infantry.

Jacob Werkheiser, 198th Pennsylvania Infantry.

Charles France, First World War.

Curtis Saint Bonnet, U.S. Army, U.S. Merchant Marines, Second World War.

Vincent Shaffer, U.S. Navy, Second World War.

Richard Shook, Second World War.


II. Walt Whitman, Specimen Days (1892):

101. The Real War Will Never Get in the Books

The preceding notes may furnish a few stray glimpses into that life, and into those lurid interiors, never to be fully convey’d to the future. The hospital part of the drama from ’61 to ’65, deserves indeed to be recorded. Of that many-threaded drama, with its sudden and strange surprises, its confounding of prophecies, its moments of despair, the dread of foreign interference, the interminable campaigns, the bloody battles, the mighty and cumbrous and green armies, the drafts and bounties—the immense money expenditure, like a heavy-pouring constant rain—with, over the whole land, the last three years of the struggle, an unending, universal mourning-wail of women, parents, orphans—the marrow of the tragedy concentrated in those Army Hospitals—(it seem’d sometimes as if the whole interest of the land, North and South, was one vast central hospital, and all the rest of the affair but flanges)—those forming the untold and unwritten history of the war—infinitely greater (like life’s) than the few scraps and distortions that are ever told or written. Think how much, and of importance, will be—how much, civic and military, has already been—buried in the grave, in eternal darkness.

III. To family veterans among the living:

Bruce Shook, career U.S. Navy.

Norman Russell, U.S. Army, Second World War.

Richard Shaffer, U.S. Marine Corps.

John DeVivo, Vietnam War era.

Scotty Russell, U.S. Air Force, Vietnam War.

Linda Kresge, Tobyhanna Army Depot, logistical support, Gulf War, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Robert Stine, Jr., Gulf War, Iraq War.

Tristan Russell, Special Operations, Iraq War, Afghanistan.

Today's Rune: The Mystery Rune.

Birthdays: Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, Jim Thorpe (Wa-Tho-Huk), Ian Fleming, T-Bone Walker, Walker Percy, Papa John Creach, Carroll Baker (b. Karolina Piekarski), Betty Shabazz (b. Betty Jean Sanders), Gladys Knight, John Fogerty, Wendy O. Williams, Isabelle Carré.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Another well written work. Enjoyed the read. MW

Bubs said...

That's a distinguished roster Erik.

Well done.

lulu said...

You're Southern originally, right? I mean the North Carolina and Georgia give it away a little, obviously, but that's a huge difference between Northern and Southern families, isn't it? Historically the military has been filled with the boys of Southern familes, not Northern ones.

That's an impressive list of soldiers. Bless them.

Charles Gramlich said...

I have no list like this for my family, although I know I had ancestors who fought in the civil war. Very interesting.

the walking man said...

Historically the non commissioned ranks were filled with the poor and them that thought that at the end their would be a stipend of some sort. a college education or a few acres and a mule. The educated and the rich always found a way out. North or South the cannon fodder were immigrants, urban poor, small town folks with no where else to find a job or draftee's who had not Mahuumad Ali's character.

Erik Donald France said...

Thanks all for the comments! Lulu -- born in Pennsylvania, have lived half in the South and half in the North. Most of these vets were/are from the North.