It's Memorial Day in the U.S., an occasion that for me sparked memories of--of all people--Archie Bunker.
If you're of a certain age (as I am) you must remember Archie. He was a fixture on TV back in the 1970s in Norman Lear's All In The Family.
Remember what a dolt he was? What a male chauvinist? And so bigoted, too. Remember how he always came out second best in screaming matches with his flagrantly leftist, perpetually P.C. son-in-law, whom he "lovingly" called Meathead (because he said he was "dead from the neck up")?
The reason I thought of Archie, though, is because he was also, memorably, a veteran of "the big one"--double-U-double-U-two. And when I think back on it, his having served his country in that war was never spoken of with respect, or admiration, or awe. Rather, in that era, when memories of Vietnam were still fresh, Archie's service to his country and to the cause of freedom was derided, disparaged, and there was nothing funnier than seeing old Archie the working class Republican from Queens, New York, don his now too-tight uniform and spew his bigotry.
Back then no one thought it shameful to treat veterans so shabbily and with such disdain. Ah, but that was well before books such as The Greatest Generation made it respectable to appreciate them once again. Looking back, I can't believe it was once considered the height of sophistication to make fun of a WW2 veteran for his service, and for his pride in that service. But, shockingly, it was. So, on the occasion of this Memorial Day, and on behalf of all WW2 veterans, I'd like to say, retroactively, shame on Norman Lear for his meatheadness. And shame on us for ours.