Bruce Watson: Marking history with a Hallmark sentiment

Last modified: 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.