While in my illness time I turned to my old friend Walt Whitman. This his Civil War prose from my well thumbed volume "The Portable Walt Whitman" Penguin Classics. I've dragged this thing around with me maybe 15 years now.
It never lets ya down.
In particular given my current adventures I've been sailing his Civil War writings. The hospital notes for sure. He while a scribe with the War Department,...or was it Interior? Well after his duties he'd go over to the overflowing soldiers hospitals spread about Washington City as it was then.
He would give comfort to those of both sides. He'd listen give little gifts of writing paper pencils hard candy. Take mail from them, and such small, but vital kindnesses as that.
As he said the listening the just being there seemed to these men the greatest gift. In reading of these survivors from our worse most bitter war. These boys tender young teens to older gents like myself well into their sixties. These who fought in this Republic's most harsh of People's wars.
They tore slashed burned, and shot each other to tatters.
This for an idea.
Wars fought for these...for ideas were then very new. Traditionally one fought because your prince or king ordered you to. Now for what's in your heart. Which only made the cruel institution even worse...as the next century the 20th would more than prove.
As I've read, and watched said in movies on the subject. The tragic nature the most tragic thing about the War Amongst the American States was that it was fought over a dream. One that would set the course of it's peoples. A tragic difference in dreams.
I was asked why would I as a person believing in peaceful resolutions wear a uniform?
Well. Other than I just like it, and it's interesting drag. I wear it because like all of you. All of us here I'm a soldier in the unfinished business on the destiny of our Republic.
Now here we are at yet a new stage of that on going great contest. Still imagining Dreams. Our direction as a community of communities still being decided though now digital battlefields.
The outcome remains as it has so long been,...Uncertain.