"Who can say whether it is possible or merely a childish dream, to tame an insect, to win its love and to make it one's friend? What do we know? We do not know what passes in the fibre of the branch we break across our knee, we do not know what repercussions follow from the splintering of a stone, thrown by a child. We know nothing. We wash the sleep out of our eyes and go on with our concerns in deadly earnest, we warm our bodies with food, we get up and go to bed again in ignorance deeper than before. We know nothing."
When I was in high school, we never had Veteran's Day off. Instead, we had a long assembly oriented to connecting the kids to the meaning of military service. In those days, it was our fathers who served in WWII, our teachers who were in Korea, our grandfathers in WWI. And the very last of the Spanish-American War veterans were doddering away. No one thought of Veteran's Day as a "holiday" for happy freedom. At the end of the assembly, the band would play "Stars and Stripes Forever" in the most stirring manner possible. Flutes and piccolos in a line at the lip of the stage. (Our band had a 110 members.) Then the trombones moving in, whanging out the trio (remember the words? "Be kind to our dear feathered friends. That duck may be somebody's mother.") The trombones could bring tears to your eyes. Our band director, whom we all called Sarge, would give a patriotic speech or injunction to the kids to appreciate what the vets did for us. And my high school was officially called Veterans' Memorial High School. We still called it Eau Claire High School (or ECHS), but the change to Memorial High School was going on and would take effect in the fall of 1962 when the brand new North High opened up. (I hear that it was only in recent years that Memorial changed their letter awards to M from E. No one ever attached the V to the school, though, so it can be seen only at the foot of the flag pole.
I am in a nostalgic mood, with Dave N. dying yesterday.