Justin: In the Feast of Being Able to. Amen.

Whoa. You KNEW a Civil War Veteran?

I had a WWII veteran buddy who died just a few years ago. We used to hang out and talk about politics or history. We’d sit in his living room and mock the history channel, discuss the pivotal nature of Gettysburg – Day 2, and discuss books we’d both read. I loved it when my friend got riled up over what a narcissist MacArthur was, or how Walter Cronkite lost the Vietnam War.

One day my friend pointed out something that blew my mind. He once knew Civil War veterans. Yes, he knew them in real life. There were still old men around in the mid-1900’s who were Civil War veterans.

It is 2009. The Civil War ended in 1865. That’s only 144 years. If you fought in the Civil War at age 18 in 1865, in 1941 (when WWII began 76 years later), you’d be 94 years old. Thus, the 18 year olds of WWII probably grew up with grandfathers or great grandfathers who were Civil War veterans. For my friend, Bill, it was both.

To be analogous to my friend Bill’s age vs. the age of the Civil War veterans he knew, using WWII as a marker:

1941(WWII begins) was 76 year from 1865 (Civil War ends).
2021 will be 76 years from 1945 (the end of WWII). An 18 year old in 2021 will have been born in 2003. In that same year, those who were 18 during that last year of WWII will be 94 years old. A few lied and made it into the war at age 16 or 17, but odds are you won’t know any of them.

Further, if you have a young child now or one in the next few years, and that child lives to be 80 years old, the year will be around, say 2080 or 2090. World War 2 will be as far removed from memory as the American Civil War is from us today in 2009.

Will your child be able to say, “I was young, but I knew a wwii veteran. I even spoke to him about the war a little bit.”

If you have a little one, make sure they at least meet a wwii vet. If you care enough to sit with one for a few minutes and just ask them to talk to you a little about WWII, you are almost guaranteed to hear a sentence you will take to your grave.

I have one for almost every war venteran I have spoken to.

The blessing of having spoken to some of the men I have visited with… of hearing first hand what it was like… we are changed by such conversatoins, and in retrospect, awed.

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