Old Enough to Remember...a whole lot of stuff!
Memories waft up like candles on a cake, the spark of hope evaporating into thin air if one does not hold moral values, principles, and sacrifices precious and worth fighting for.
Editor's Note: Thanks to the kind permission of Phil Brennan, we are able to bring you this thought-provoking piece that should ramp up the memories and outrage at what we are letting happen today to our children and society. This is especially relevant on this Fourth of July Weekend when we must ask ourselves just how independent we really are. Phil is a veteran journalist who writes for NewsMax.com and Ether Zone, as well as being editor & publisher of Wednesday on the Web. He was Washington columnist for National Review magazine in the 1960s and also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska. He is also a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. Intelligence. Ah, now there is something that we might pray will rub off on more, especially the apostate bishops who have forgotten (or have they?) what Phil remembers so well.
"I am old enough to remember - and mourn - the glorious Latin Mass, it's solemnity and mystery that helped you rise above your mundane self and the world around you, and elevate your mind and heart in the quiet majesty of Gregorian chant. It took you out of the day-to-day world and gave you a glimpse of what could be and what was to come. It made you realize that, in the words of the song, if you allowed it to happen, you were being made more than you could be." It was a solemn celebration, presided over by an ordained priest who did all the work on your behalf, leaving you to submerge yourself in the Divine mystery of the Eucharist. Since then, what was not broken, was "fixed" and the result has been organized chaos and a rush for the exits."
The other night Ann Coulter asked my boss, Chris Ruddy how old I am. That got me thinking that since late next week I'll be having a birthday, it might be instructive to recall not how old I am chronologically, but how old I am to be able to remember a whole lot of stuff.
My friend Michael Reagan, no spring chicken himself, was kind enough the other day to tell me that I am as old as dirt, and suggested that I had been around long enough to have been baptized by John the Baptist.
That's not quite true, but I have been around long enough to remember what the majority of Americans regard as ancient history, if they know anything about it at all.
I'm old enough to remember that my paternal grandfather was born in 1850 and enrolled in Manhattan College a mere three years after the War Between the States, which he had lived through, ended.
I am old enough to remember that my maternal grandmother, born in Brooklyn in the 1850s, lived long to tell me how a neighbor's son had run across her front lawn shouting that Lincoln had been shot.
I am old enough to remember that her oldest daughter, my aunt Day was born in the year that George Armstrong Custer was killed at the Little Big Horn and I'm old enough to have known an old soldier who had served with men who had served at one time or another with Custer.
I am old enough to remember going to Decoration Day (now called Memorial Day) parades and seeing a number of Union Army veterans riding on open limousines and still hearty enough to wave to the crowds.
I am old enough to remember hearing my maternal grandmother recall the early days of her marriage when she lived in post-war Richmond Virginia in the mid-1870s with her cotton broker husband and speak of the terrible poverty and deprivation that existed among people who had recently lost a war that had devastated their state and the entire South. Although her own father had been so badly wounded at Bull Run as a member of the famed Irish Brigade fighting against the Confederacy that he died 10 years later in a veteran's hospital of the effects of his wounds, and she had been an avid supporter of the Union, she felt deep shame over how her neighbors in Richmond fared at the hands of the federal government - her government.
We treated the defeated populations of Germany and Japan far better than we treated our fellow Americans below the Mason-Dixon line. There was no Marshall Plan for them. They got reconstruction and occupation by a victorious army instead. And of course, carpet baggers - a specie that disappeared until Hillary Clinton, following in the footsteps of another non-New Yorker Robert Kennedy, ran for the Senate in a state in which she had never lived (sorry, I couldn't resist that urge).
I am also old enough to remember the times when New Yorkers would have run her out of town on a rail had she been rash enough to plunk herself down in their midst and announce that she was going to run for a Senate seat as if she were one of them. Tammany Hall was still around and must have been enraged - after all, in those days you had to earn the right to seek to represent the sovereign state of New York in the U. S. Senate - and of course, it goes without saying that you had to be a real New Yorker. Today's New Yorkers are less discriminating.
I am old enough to remember that most people lived where their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents lived. Families were close knit. Kids knew and saw their grandparents and their uncles and aunts and cousins all the time. As a result we had a genuine sense of who we were and who we came from and above all, what our heritage imposed on us - what was expected of us, which was what our parents expected of themselves.
I am old enough to remember that we were taught to respect our elders even those that didn't deserve an ounce of respect. They were our elders, and one respected one's elders - that was it. We never, never called our parents' friends by their first names - they were always Mr. and Mrs. (never, thank God, that barbaric innovation of our times - Ms. - in those days ms. meant manuscript").
If they were really close friends they became honorable uncles and aunts. We were respectful to our parents, even when we reached the age when we were convinced that they were hopelessly behind the times and had no idea of what it was all about, and of course well before the age when we realized that they really did know what they were talking about, and far more, after all. I am old enough to remember that we kids wanted only to be what our parents were, to have what they had, and do what they did and enjoy the things they enjoyed. And to live good and decent lives as they lived.
I am old enough to remember how we cherished the simple things, which are always the best things, and would have reacted in horror at the sordid decadence that passes today as everyday recreation and enjoyment - wallowing in the slime of the sexual pigsty where one can be and do whatever one feels one wants to be or do, no matter how revolting the resulting behavior. I am old enough to remember where actions had consequences - you paid for what you did with no excuses that allowed you to blame your misdeeds on your genes or something that happened to you when you were an impressionable child - when crimes were crimes and not "mistakes" and when there were things that were evil by their very nature and were recognized as such. I am old enough to remember that when things were not broken, nobody tried to get the government to fix them, and when it was understood that people were responsible for their own actions and their own welfare unless they were absolutely incapable of taking care of themselves - and it was then incumbent on their families or their neighbors or their churches to see to their needs. Government, with its meddling and usually incompetent ways was seen only as a last resort.
I am old enough to remember that we knew that history - and our religious faith - taught us that the way to make a better world was not by some coercive government spending program or socialist scheme or globalist fantasy, but by making ourselves better. Good begets good. As Richard Burton once remarked in an otherwise perfectly awful movie "You can't do good unless you can be good,"
I am old enough to remember - and mourn - the glorious Latin Mass, it's solemnity and mystery that helped you rise above your mundane self and the world around you, and elevate your mind and heart in the quiet majesty of Gregorian chant. It took you out of the day-to-day world and gave you a glimpse of what could be and what was to come. It made you realize that, in the words of the song, if you allowed it to happen, you were being made more than you could be." It was a solemn celebration, presided over by an ordained priest who did all the work on your behalf, leaving you to submerge yourself in the Divine mystery of the Eucharist. Since then, what was not broken, was "fixed" and the result has been organized chaos and a rush for the exits.
I am old enough to remember that children were taught history and knew and deeply admired most of what could be known about George Washington and the Founding Fathers, their heroism, and their brilliance and foresight in constructing a government designed to reflect the will of the people while restricting both the excesses of their aroused passions and the power of the government they established.
I am old enough to remember when it was taken for granted that this nation was based on the 2000 year-old principles of Christianity upon which Western civilization itself was based, and on the understanding that mankind is never on its own, but subject at all times to the Divine will as expressed most clearly in the Ten Commandments and in Holy Scripture. The idea that the Founding Fathers meant to denigrate religion and ban it from the public square would have been considered the idiocy that it indeed is. In those days we took the Constitution to mean what it said: that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; in other words that the federal government could not establish a state religion a la Britain's state established Anglican Church, nor prohibit the practice of religion in or out of the public square. There was not one word about a "wall of separation between church and state."
I am old enough to remember that agree or disagree with the government's decision to go to war, once in a war you backed your country to the hilt. You respected those fighting the war and in harm's way, would have tarred and feathered anyone who dared to call them baby killers and worse, and would have banished to the outer darkness a United States Senator who compared them to blood-thirsty tyrants.
I am old enough to remember that at the outbreak of World War II, youngsters yearned to be old enough to serve in the military and go into harm's way to serve their nation in a time of peril. I am old enough to remember the long lines in front of the recruiting stations after Pearl Harbor as millions of young Americans sought to commit their lives to the service of their nation, and the frustration I endured until I reached the magic age of 17 in 1943 and the Marine Corps was rash enough to take me in and endeavor to make a man out of a spoiled brat.
And I'm old enough to remember that in the darkest days of World War II, when the casualty figures in such monumental battles as Tarawa and Normandy and Iwo Jima soared to numbers so high the normal mind could not deal with their reality, and that the normal time overseas for our troops was a long 36 months, there were no calls for giving up the struggle - just grim determination to see the thing through to a victorious conclusion. Americans after all, won all their wars; losing was unthinkable.
I am old enough to remember when Americans looked forward to the future with hope and determination to shape it into what we wanted it to be - we glimpsed that shining city on the hill Ronald Reagan spoke about, and we were determine to reach it. The future was in our hands and we were confident we could make it what we believed it could be. We did not feel the anguish and dread most Americans experience today when envisioning our Nation's future.
Oh, in case you are wondering - a week from Friday, on July 8, 2005, I will be 79 and, thus entering my 80th year in this vale of tears. Deo Gratias .