Last Words

May 25th, 2015 § 2 comments

HG, a very senior fellow, knows that –“As It Must To All Men”–the Moloch Hamoves (The Angel of Death) will pay HG an unwelcome visit in the future. Not too soon, hopefully. Thus, there is the matter of Last Words to be considered. HG has been very fortunate. For more than a half century HG has lived with BSK, certainly the most beautiful, loving and multi-talemted woman in the world. HG has the best children and grandchildren, a source of unending joy. HG lives in two wonderful places–New Mexico and Prince Edward Island. In previous years, HG lived in New York (happily, before the isle of Manhattan became a theme park for oligarchs). Lived by the sea in Nantucket and Fire Island. Relished the equestrian life on a Colorado mountain ranch. Was fortunate enough to experience the glorious urbanism of Vancouver, B.C. and the Mile High City of Denver. HG has been fortunate in receiving much love and, of course, has gloried in the pleasures of the knife, fork, dish and glass. So, when the final moment arrives, HG presumes last words will not be eloquent. Possibly a grunt of anger at the end of it all. HG doesn’t believe famous last words ever got uttered. As a publicist who encouraged some profitable myth making, HG is aware that many heroic words can’t bear objective scrutiny. HG and most American children learned the eloquent last words of 21-year-old patriot and Continental Army officer Nathan Hale. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington sent Hale to New York to spy on the British. He was captured and hung. On the gallows he said (or didn’t say), these immortal words:”I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” HG is skeptical. All reports indicate Hale was heroic, but there is little positive proof he said those stirring words. In fact, the exact location of Hale’s New York hanging has never been identified precisely. Third Avenue and 66th Street? The site of what is now Grand Central Terminal or further downtown at City Hall Park? Some years later there was another hero whose last words gained some immortality. He was Yosef Trumpeldor (1880-1920). A very tough soldier, Trumpeldor, a Russian and a Jew, joined the Russian army in 1902 and fought in the war with Japan. He was hit by shrapnel, lost an arm, but kept fighting. He said: “I have another good arm to lose for the motherland.” (HG finds this quite improbable). Trumpeldor received many decorations (including the Cross of Saint George) and became the first Jewish officer in the army. Later, Trumpeldor became a Zionist and with Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the fiery founder of Zionist Revisionism, helped organize the Jewish Legion and Zion Mule Corps which fought with the British during the Middle East campaigns of World War One. Trumpeldor was with the Mule Corps at Gallipoli and was wounded in the shoulder. (The Zion Mule Corps provided many men who later became officers in Haganah and the Israel Defense Corps). After the war, Trumpeldor settled in Palestine where he became a member of Hashomer, the Jewish self defense force (founded in 1909) that was the predecessor of Haganah. In 1920, the Jewish settlement of Tel Hai near the Syrian border was attacked by a force of some 100 Arabs (Syrian Arabs were engaged in a war with France –which France won). The Arab attackers of Tel Hai believed mistakenly that French soldiers were being sheltered at the settlement. Hashomer sent Trumpeldor to defend the settlement. Some 8 Jews and 5 Arabs were killed in the battle. Trumpeldor was hit in the hand and stomach by Arab bullets. Before he died he said: “It does not matter. It is good to die for our country.” He became a Zionist hero and those words are carved in a monument at the site of his death. Some historians have said that Trumpeldor, furious at his fate after having faced death so many times in the battles with Japanese and Turks, uttered a Russian curse. Roughly translated, it is: “Fuck your mother !!” This seems more probable. A rough oath at the end of a rough soldier’s life.$(KGrHqFHJBUE-c!Trb,1BPntsgHNmQ--60_35

§ 2 Responses to Last Words"

  • Lynn Small says:

    Great considerations of final words. Boy you can write! Gratitude for all those in your life will keep you going a long time. My mantra “stay hungry”.

    • Gerry says:

      Thanks, Lynn, for the kind words. Particularly meaningful coming from someone who manages to combine–beautifully–style and creativity.

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