Friday, July 01, 2016

100 Years Ago

I've been aware of the time going by
They say in the end it's the wink of an eye

 ~ Jackson Brown

One hundred years ago today, July 1, 2016, the horror that was the First World War opened a new hell on earth as the seige known as the Battle of the Somme, or the Somme Offensive, began in France. Over a five month period, from July 1 to November 18, more than one million soldiers were killed or wounded. (For riveting history of World War I, try the podcasts "Blueprint for Armageddon," by Dan Carlin.)

On that same summer day a century ago that one of the bloodiest battles in human history began, a baby boy was born thousands of miles away in a poor working class neighborhood in Manhattan, New York, to Irish immigrant parents. That newborn child was my father.

There is a charming adage that claims "every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of men." When I think of the brutal mass destruction that began on my father's birthday, and then consider the man, husband, and father he became, I'm inclined to agree that God is not yet done with humanity.

Further evidence of benevolence in the universe is the fact that movie legend Olivia de Havilland, also born July 1, 2016, turns 100 years old today. My father lived 70 years; de Havilland is celebrating her centennial. It's a reminder to me that regardless of how much we are allotted, time passes quickly for all of us. Far more important than our span of years is their content and what we ourselves make of them.