Tommy

It’s November 11 and we should remember those who served.  The veteran tends to be treated with contempt by the swell in charge when civilization reaches the point that the front lines are not just down the street.  It’s all too easy to forget about the dangers when they are far away.  I think that Kipling’s poem said it best.

Tommy

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, Mr. 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 how’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;
Yes it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
But Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool–you bet that Tommy sees!
Rudyard Kipling

http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/kiplin02.html

There’s something that happens to civilizations when they get rich.  they forget how they got there and especially forget those who stand between the civilization and the dark.

I suspect that one of the things that those who have served hate the most is what happens to civilizations when common sense goes down the toilet because the cloud people completely in the dark.  I can see that they might want to reorder society to make it more robust.

http://www.everyjoe.com/2015/11/02/politics/service-guarantees-citizenship/

The Col. makes some great arguments here.  The problem is hammers and nails.  If to a typical Progressive everything looks like a problem that can be solved by feeling it, to the military types every problem looks like it can be solved by forcing people to do what they want.  Still there needs to some sort of vetting of the people who are given the keys of civilization.  And the people who send the Tommies out need to know the real cost when the guns begin to shoot.

http://www.everyjoe.com/2015/11/09/politics/service-guarantees-citizenship-adapting-starship-troopers-system/#1

This is the day that we honor our veterans. They are those who have stood between the darkness and the light, on the thin lines  at the fringes of civilization so that the rest of us do not have to think too much about what’s on the other side of those lines.  We should all remember the second line of the old saying, “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” is, “Well then the war comes to you?” History tell us that civilizations that do not remember that soon are just shattered  monuments and forgotten peoples.

 

 

 

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One comment

  1. Carl · November 11

    Enlisted men in Europe were traditionally uneducated conscripts of low status (aka, cannon fodder,) and low expectations (such as tolerating loutish behavior.) As such, the enlisted man has traditionally been held in low regard. Officers were usually selected from educated, well heeled families, and had a very different life. Things are changing in many countries there, but slowly. The American experience is obviously a lot different. This article is a great case of applying American judgement to another country’s situation. Unfortunately, there are too many in American who have a European worldview about the military.

    Like

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