Baseball’s a great game. It’s entertaining to watch, write about, discuss, and pretty much anything else that you can imagine. It also has a deeper history than most other organized professional sports, stretching far back into the 19th century for its origins. As a baseball nut, history nut, and given my own family history, Remembrance Day is a time when aspects of who I am coalesce in a satisfying way.
For many of us, sports provide an release from the stresses and ugliness of everyday life. That’s not its sole purpose, of course, but it’s a purpose nevertheless. As we ‘escape’ into this world (baseball), within a world (the entertainment industry), within a world (the one where sometimes, if it wasn’t for gravity, we’d lose our grip completely), it’s easy to forget that some people made sacrifices beyond our comprehension.
The world isn’t always filled with dreams and imagination; sometimes it’s a world filled with horror. There are those who were an integral part of both worlds: the world of baseball, and this planet. They witnessed things and experienced things that would make Stephen King blanch with horror and sob uncontrollably. They were called from dream careers to serve in the military, and some of what they witnessed was humanity at its worst.
The links below connect to some websites that are worth perusing. Using the search engine of your choice, it shouldn’t be very difficult to find other sites in addition to those I’ve included. No MLB players served in Desert Storm or Afghanistan, but there are plenty of links. If you enjoy baseball history as I do, some names from the previous conflicts will be familiar to you. For instance, Joe DiMaggio was a non-com and Ted Williams was a fighter pilot.
But don’t stop there. Hearken back to history class, and try to imagine them taking part in one of the major conflicts of the 20th century. Then go thank a veteran. They aren’t as far away as pro athletes can seem, playing a kids’ game with their gigantic contracts. They’re part of our everyday lives, and they deserve our gratitude.
Poppies help us to remember, lest we forget.
The Great War/World War I, 1914-1918
World War II, 1939-1945