Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Such Men

 

“Where do we get such men? They leave this ship and they do their job. Then they must find this speck lost somewhere on the sea. When the find it they have to land on its pitching deck. Where do we get such men?” — RAdm. George Tarrant in The Bridges at Toko Ri, James Michener

The Bridge at Toko Ri was a novella Michener wrote in 1953. at the end of the Korean War. Set during that war, one of its themes was the question of whether the generation that became adults after World War II had the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the challenges of those times. Some felt that this new generation lacked the courage, the endurance, and the determination of the men who had fought World War II. They were weak and would fail, those people thought.

They did not fail. They ultimately formed the generation that won the 20th century’s third world war, the Cold War. defeating the Soviet Union so utterly it ceased to exist, joining Napoleonic France and Nazi Germany in the dustbin of history.

There are similar questions about those in their twenties and early thirties today, the Millenials. They are dismissed as snowflakes. Or they are seen as the nihilistic activists of Antifa, the sons of the rich and privileged rioting for amusement, who seek to enforce a stodgy, puritanical conformity on everyone else. Some, as in the early 1950s, declare the twentysomethings as a lost generation.

And yet.

This last week two helicopter crews, manned mainly by those in the Millenial generation rescued over 200 people trapped by a wildfire in California. Despite absolutely horrendous conditions they did not just make one trip – they returned to rescue those who could not be evacuated on the first flight. They went against advice. It was too dangerous they were told. And yet they went anyway. It was an extraordinary accomplishment. It won the admiration of @bossmongo, a man of an earlier generation whose fortitude and courage is unquestioned.

Far too often the worst among us gain the most attention. Those who do their tasks, quietly, competently, and courageously are often ignored. And the behaviors of the worst of each generation are not unique to that generation. You can find examples of rich rioters and snowflakes in every generation, starting with the Ancient Egyptians.

The Bridges at Toko Ri ended with an unsuccessful helicopter rescue mission. This week saw the California National Guard on a mission that ended with a successful helicopter rescue mission. (Perhaps that is the difference between fiction and fact.) Yet both leave us with the same question:

Where do we get such men?

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  1. MarciN Member

    A thousand likes! :-)

    • #1
    • September 12, 2020, at 6:54 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Seawriter: There are similar questions about those in their twenties and early thirties today, the Millenials. They are dismissed as snowflakes. Or they are seen as the nihilistic activists of Antifa, the sons of the rich and privileged rioting for amusement, who seek to enforce a stodgy puritanical conformity on everyone else. Some, as in the early 1950s, declare the twentysomethings as a lost generation. 

    The snowflakes being mocked are a vocal sliver of the whole, amplified by a press corps who impress no one with their perception or analytical prowess.

    The brothers in the frat once got a pet turtle a degree in sociology. We should have gone for journalism. It would have been easier.

    Your point on the pilots is spot on. That was outstanding.

    • #2
    • September 12, 2020, at 7:58 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    Seawriter: Where do we get such men?

    Indeed. I suspect that in some generations we see more such because the need is higher. But the base metal is always there in about equal percentages waiting to be refined into gold.


    This is the Quote of the Day. If you have a quotation you would like to share, our sign-up sheet awaits.

    Also, if you happen to be inclined, there is also the Group Writing Project. This month, the theme is a very powerful one: If I was a —, I would —.

    If you haven’t written much on Ricochet, perhaps it’s time? Both projects often get us away from politics, and many of these wind up on the Main Feed.

    • #3
    • September 12, 2020, at 8:51 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. CACrabtree Coolidge

    Percival (View Comment):

    Seawriter: There are similar questions about those in their twenties and early thirties today, the Millenials. They are dismissed as snowflakes. Or they are seen as the nihilistic activists of Antifa, the sons of the rich and privileged rioting for amusement, who seek to enforce a stodgy puritanical conformity on everyone else. Some, as in the early 1950s, declare the twentysomethings as a lost generation.

    The snowflakes being mocked are a vocal sliver of the whole, amplified by a press corps who impress no one with their perception or analytical prowess.

    The brothers in the frat once got a pet turtle a degree in sociology. We should have gone for journalism. It would have been easier.

    Your point on the pilots is spot on. That was outstanding.

    “Duty, Honor, Country”

    “Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.”

    @seawriter, @percival, @arahant, I hope you are correct. However, I’m not so sure. I do see reasons for hope. I see young men and woman who understand that ours is a country worth defending and that the defense of it does not come cheap. And, as with anyone else who has had the priviledge to serve in the military, I remember young men from every conceivable background (and ethnic group) being encouraged (forcefully, if needed) to sublimate their individuality in favor of whatever was needed to defend this country. Those three words were relentlessly drilled into us along with the simple credo of “I will not let down the guy next to me…I will never be the weak link in my unit.”

    However, Douglas MacArthur also warned,

    The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and, I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.”

    Today, when I see the amounts of time (and money) being spent on “Critical Race Theory” training then I have to wonder how much “base metal” will be left to be “refined into gold.”

    • #4
    • September 12, 2020, at 1:36 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  5. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I remember reading this one in high school. It was a very depressing book. It never asked any real political questions about what would happen to the Koreans under Communism. The protagonist is shot down and then killed by Communist troups on the ground. His death is portrayed as completely meaningless.

    This is not a work by Michener that enlightens the reader at all. The message, whatever the intent, comes off as “don’t take any risks”. Not much of a formula for real life much less life in a free society.

    Michener’s worst.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #5
    • September 13, 2020, at 5:18 AM PDT
    • 2 likes