Wednesday, August 13, 2014
LEVERETT — Hey there History! Happy anniversaries! With a second Cold War looming and an umpteenth Iraq War on hold, history is haunting us this summer. And because our past is now cluttered with wars, battles and other earth-shaking events, this strange summer has also seen a strange number of historic anniversaries. This summer we celebrate:
• The 75th anniversary of World War II
• The 100th anniversary of World War I
• The 50th anniversary of the Beatles, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, Freedom Summer and everything else that happened in 1964
• The 40th anniversary of Nixon’s blessed resignation
And as of next Sunday, my car will be 8 years old.
There may be a few more but the important thing is not what occurred but that it occurred a nice round number of years ago so we can talk about it for a day or two. Anniversaries allow the media to give us the history we forgot in school. But this summer there’s a lesson to be learned from them, and the lesson is this — wars and other calamities always start in years ending in 4 or 9.
Which leaves the question — what to get History in honor of all these anniversaries? If these were wedding anniversaries, there would be a guide. First year – paper; fifth year – an iPhone; 10th year – a white Lab puppy, etc. But there are no appropriate gifts to celebrate war, invasions, or presidential resignations. May I suggest anniversary cards?
Happy 100th, World War One!
It’s “Over There!” we sing.
Your years of total carnage
Toppled Kaiser, Czar and king.
Your slaughter marked the end of
All the hope that came before
If only you had really been
The War to End All Wars!
For a more recent commemoration, I now present the first Nixon Resignation Anniversary Card.
We whooped it up when you resigned
We’d rarely had such fun.
“I’m not a crook,” you told us
But we found the smoking gun.
Yet 40 years of Scandal-gates
Have only brought more pain
Compared to current DC loons
Richard Nixon seems quite sane.
World War II began 75 years ago Sept. 1. Children everywhere will be chanting:
Hitler, Tojo, Mussolini
We fought ’em all and
Whupped their weenies
Ike and Churchill, FDR
How we wonder
Where you are
Having won the First
And Second World Wars
Don’t we deserve
A world without more?
Finally, here’s a 50th anniversary card for the turning-point year of 1964. You can use it any time between now and December 31.
What’s in a year, we want to know
Does history turn a page?
But in that single 12-month span
The Sixties came of age
The Beatles sang and ’Nam amped up
Our culture seemed so square
Civil rights and urban fights
And chaos in the air.
So Happy 50th, ’64
Your importance is no mystery
Comes now another year of ’4
Can we survive its history?
As for my car’s birthday, I’m buying it a tank of gas. Here’s hoping we all make it to a safer, saner year ending in ’5.
Bruce Watson’s column appears twice a month.