I came across an old codger driving this around this past week. He looked to be bout 90, had a cigar hanging from his mouth, and told me that he used it mainly for fishing because it got around in the woods good. Remember when they use to advertise you could buy a jeep for $79 in the newspaper? You had to put it together yourself and I never knew if the engine was included. 🙂 This one looked like the real thing.
It seems appropriate considering today marks the 71st anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy during WWII. It doesn’t get a lot of attention in the States, then again, most historical dates don’t. If you’re interested in D-Day, allow me to recommend The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan. I still consider it the best overall book written about that day and it gives you an up-close look at what was happening with the soldiers on the ground. I don’t know if one exists, this would be a curious question to ask my German friends, but is there a real good historical book/novel about D-Day from the German point of view? If anyone out there can recommend one, send me a note, would you?
Also this day is the anniversary of the death of one of the few political heroes I have, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who’d been gunned down the night before after winning the 1968 California Primary. Our history would’ve been so different if he had won the Presidency which it seems he was set to do. People literally lined railroad tracks as the train carrying his body went across the country and the church where he laid in state had to be kept open 24/7 because the lines of people were so long, even then they didn’t get everyone inside.
I once got inside the Ambassador Hotel where he’d been shot. The dining hall area had once held events like an early Oscar presentation etc. and that night was packed. Evidence now suggests there was more than one shooter but at this point we’ll never know the full story.
Standing on the place where he lay, sprawled out in his own blood, was an eerie feeling for me. Even now, just recalling it, I feel a chill. A friend of mine had sneaked me inside so I could see the place before the Ambassador was sold off and torn down. The place seemed so insignificant considering the weight of the impact on history. And from the chaos of that night to the emptiness that filled the room during my visit, it seemed as though I was standing in a snapshot of a moment, as though Death dressed as a maitre’d would come through at any moment and say, “Can you move aside, please? You’re crowding the memory of my handiwork.”
So to honor both moments of history that occurred on this date, let me use the quote from Aeschylus that is engraved on Kennedy’s grave: In our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.