Old Friends by Martha Thomases Brilliant Disguise @MDWorld

You cant make this stuff up, so we dont!

May 27, 2016Victor El-Khouri0 Comments

Last weekend, I had friends stay with me, and it was an altogether lovely experience.Weve known each other for almost 40 years.

In two weeks, Im going to Connecticut for the weekend for my 45th high school reunion.Ive known those folks for nearly 50 years.

And I have a few friends Ive known longer.Im lucky that way.In Girl Scouts, we would sing, Make new friends/And keep the old/One is silver/And the other gold.

My old friends and I listened to the same music on the radio, watched the same television programs, and went to the same movies.Many of us marched in the same demonstrations and took the same drugs.We knew how to arrange an abortion for a friend in trouble, even though it was against the law.

It takes more than a shared set of references to be a real friend.There are a lot of people my age who dont share my curiosity (either in scope or in scale).There are a lot of people my age whose interests are so different from my own that we have nothing to talk about.There are a lot of people my age who dont laugh at the same things I do.

Still, an old friend doesnt require a lot of explanation about whyThe Monkeeswas important television, even if s/he doesnt agree with me.An old friend doesnt need a lot of expository dialogue to understand what Kent State meant.

Old friends remember the time when we thought we could change the world with rocknroll and that love would be stronger than hate and that peace was the answer.They remember when the Beatles were onEd Sullivanand the world was never the same again.

It isnt my intent here to bashmillennials.I gave birth to one, and he was, and continues to be, one of the worlds greatest humans.Many of his friends are fabulous, and Im pleased that I get to know them.

They keep me from getting too complacent.But there is so much they dont understand.

My generation was the last to be subject to a military draft, at least so far.This means that American citizens were forced to fight in wars whether they supported them or not.I knew people who were drafted.I knew people who went to jail rather than fight.I knew people who faked conditions so they flunked the physicals.I knew people who left the country.

Every single one of us was affected by the draft.

Old friends remember watching the news and getting weekly reports about how many people died inViet Nam, divided into categories that included Americans, Vietnamese allies and Viet Cong.

We lost friends to bullets and bombs and PTSD.I dont think anyone was unaffected, no matter what our varying opinions about the war might be.

The all-volunteer military has changed this.Too many people stilldiein wars, but they tend to be concentrated in certain economic and educational classes.Its not as random as the draft, so a smaller percentage of us know who they are.

It makes it too easy to forget what war is and what it demands.It makes it too easy to wave the flag and forget about the cost, in blood and in treasure.

This Memorial Day, we should remember.And then all of us, young and old alike, should do what we can to stop any more wars.It would be lovely to live in a land where no one can personally remember the last dead soldier.

Martha Thomases, Media Goddess, appreciates that her oldest friends dont remind her of some her more, um, fashionable outfits from the 1970s.

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