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Viewpoints April 16, 2014

11/20/2013 3:44:00 PM
And then I wrote ...
by Dick Schilling
Editor Emeritus

... that this is being written on Veterans’ Day.

I have many pleasant memories of this day, all of them dating back to when it was called Armistice Day. The selection was made because the armistice which ended “the war to end all wars” (!) was signed at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month. It became Veterans’ Day in 1954. When I was a lad the Iowa pheasant hunting season always opened that day. Almost always. I seem to recall some influential Iowa football fans got it changed one year when it conflicted with an Iowa home game. Or did I dream that? Anyway, it was the one day of the year I was allowed to skip school with parental permission, and the nuns at St. Pat’s also approved.

And as was the case this year, it sometimes snowed that day.

We were reminded that veterans of “the great war,” World War II, are becoming scarce. I think I read that 410 of them die each day. The war, which lasted from 1941 to 1945, has been over for about 70 years, so even those not quite 20 years of age when they enlisted are 90 or better today.

This morning’s news reported that U.S. military personnel are assisting Filipinos who were subjected to that recent killer typhoon. In the aforementioned WWII, lots of American servicemen lost their lives on Philippines islands. At places like Leyte Gulf and Corregidor and on the Batan death march.

I have read stories that say the best way to avoid Alzheimer’s disease is to keep one’s mind active. With that in mind, I read a lot, newspapers and books, and also work crossword puzzles.

Lately the latter have provided a couple clues of aging. The clue “wallet stuffers” always used to automatically bring the answer “ones.” A recent answer was “tens.” Inflation, no doubt. The clue “head covering” usually meant a three-letter word, such as tarn, hat or cap. The four-letter answer this time was “hair.” Hmm! No longer true for some of us!

Speaking of books, one I am reading now describes how a young girl, killed by a rapist, is able to look down and observe the actions of those she left behind. The guardian angel assigned to help her with transition from death to heaven seems to be telling her that her vision of earthly things must end if she is to truly find heaven. I haven’t gotten to the point where that happens, if it does, but it is an interesting concept for “believers.”

I hate it when things don’t work. One of the two light bulbs over the medicine cabinet where I shave burned out. It has happened before, no problem. Except this time the bulb would not screw out. I tried, with both hands, with contortionist angles, etc. and it would not move. So I told myself a joke to ease the tension: How many retired news editors does it take to change a light bulb? That did it!


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