For Veteran's Day, I thought once again, to share a piece of family history. This portrait of my grandfather (c. 1940), is from his time in the Coast Guard. During the war, it was known as the 'domestic navy,' often charged with the duty of spotting U-boats off the coast, along with being the backbone of the international navy, by building the ships at Marcus Hook, an inlet near Philadelphia that leads to the Delaware Water Gap.
Often times, at the end of the war, we realize the idiocy of what has happened. That may, among other things, lead to the realization that we've all been deceived by those who planted the seed in our minds to begin with. It is a rotten seed, full of lies, deceit and manipulation.
My grandfather used to use the Yiddish term 'farshtunken,' which sounds, when compared to English, as if someone or something has been misunderstood, or 'mistaken.' But in Yiddish, the terms means that something smells putrid or rotten. Or, something that is utterly contemptible.
Sometimes, at the end of a war, we may realize that what started with a protest march is the very thing that we have been deceived by, and that in the end, is 'farshtunken.'
As I often do on my blog, I tend to offer comparisons in music. For one, I think that music somehow has the tendency to relax the soul, in order to convey meaning through the sound and the lyrics that can help to release this kind of tension created by the order of things which led to the war.
There is a German folktune that comes from long ago. Perhaps before the Crimean War called '99 luftballons.' This tune is similar to the sounds of Americana that people recognize in the music of Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead. In 1984, the tune was popularized by the band Nena, and again popularized in an American version by the same band.
The song, as it was originally written was in protest to war. To the idiocy and the deception. The song relays an event in which a German air squadron was alerted of strange objects in the sky, 'UFOS' that baffled the minds of the pilots. The pilots shoot them down, only to realize they are nothing but children's balloons, but by the time they discover what they have done, a 99-year war begins, which never seems to come to an end. The modern meaning is still conveyed in Nena's popularized version.
The song 'Fearless,' by Pink Floyd may represent a kind of afterthought. A scene from a protest, in which what was given in fear and in deception becomes clear, and the mirror is gone.