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The Editor’s Desk

Art Sharp

6

Can I dream for somebody else? ©

Is it possible to dream for someone

else—especially if that someone else died

way too early, while fighting to protect

other people’s freedom to dream? Now

there is a philosophical conundrum that is

as deep as the one about the tree falling in

the forest. You know—if there is no one

there, will anybody hear it?

Okay, what brought up the question

about dreams? It was sort of a “perfect

storm.” I was watching the end of the

movie The Perfect Storm and listening to

the character Linda Greenlaw’s eulogy for

the six crew members of the Andrea Gail, a

sword boat out of Gloucester, MA, that

sank while on a fishing mission.

She spoke right after the choir in the

Gloucester, MA church finished singing

“...for those in peril on the sea” from

“Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” also

known as The Navy Hymn.

Greenlaw said, “The only place we can

revisit them, is in our hearts, or in our

dreams. They say swordboatmen suffer

from a lack of dreams, that’s what begets

their courage... Well, we’ll dream for you:

Billy, and Bobby, and Murph, Bugsy, Sully,

and Alfred Pierre... Sleep well... Good

Night...” The mention of dreams brought to

my mind Rene Descartes, the 17th-century

French philosopher and mathematician.

Descartes asked this question about

dreams: how do you know that what we

perceive to be real life is not really a

dream? We spent hours kicking that one

around in Philosophy 101 back when Rene

and I were in college together. He convinced

me that he was right and I was

wrong about our answers—or was it the

other way around? Maybe it was all a

dream.

Well, Greenlaw and Descartes formed

two legs of my four-part thought process.

The third was the Fred Helems story on

page 58 of this issue. He had dreams, but

they were shattered on 9 June 1951 when

he died in combat at age 20. That has been

the fate of far too many men and women in

wars throughout history. They die with

their dreams unfulfilled and we, the ones

left behind, have no idea what their dreams

Maybe it’s just semantics, but I believe we can

dream “of” someone, but we cannot dream “for”

them. Death ends a person’s ability to dream.

The dead become dreams; the living become dreamers.

were. How can we dream for them? The

fourth leg was Memorial Day.

I did what so many people do on

Memorial Day. I attended a family picnic

with the people I love the most: my wife,

my daughter, my daughter-in-law, and my

grandchildren, and reflected on war, death,

and freedom.

My son and son-in-law were off golfing.

We “picknicked” and they golfed for the

same reason: because we can. Who made

that possible? The members of the armed

forces who have protected our freedom in

the United States—and elsewhere—for 234

years. That is why I think of dreams and

wonder if we can dream for anyone else.

Maybe it’s just semantics, but I believe

we can dream “of” someone, but we cannot

dream “for” them. Death ends a person’s

ability to dream. The dead become dreams;

the living become dreamers. The only way

we can remember with any degree of clarity

the service members who have given

their lives for our freedom is in dreams.

Sure, we can place their names on

memorial bricks, etch their names on grave

markers in national cemeteries, mention

their names at holiday services, etc. But do

we truly remember them that way?

I dream often of people I have known

who have served in the military and accepted

their final assignments. But, I do not

know what their dreams were. They had

their own dreams, which were cut short by

death. Mine are still alive. How can I dream

for other people if I don’t know what their

dreams were?

Oh well, it’s useless to try and answer

the question about whether we can dream

for someone else. No one has ever been

able to figure out whether a tree that falls in

a forest when no one is there makes a noise.

Likewise, there is no definitive answer to

Descartes’ question about dreams. All we

can do is somehow remember the service

members whose lives and abilities to dream

were cut short so the rest of us could dream.

And how do we know that their deaths

are not a dream? We don’t. I guess the best

thing we can do is thank them for their sacrifices

and fulfill our own dreams in their

honor, not only on Memorial Day, but

every day.

As for the answers to those other questions,

I will let them stay unanswered—

unless they come to me in a dream.

What do you think, Rene?

Copyright by Arthur G. Sharp

KOREAN WAR VETERANS ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIP DIRECTORY

Work has begun on your 2009 Korean War Veterans Association Membership Directory. As a

preliminary action Harris has sent out an email to all of the members who have an email address

on file in our data base. Attached to that email is a profile questionnaire which you are asked to

complete and return to Harris. You are also asked to send two pictures.

This is not a scam. Harris is an authorized contractor for the KWVA and their security is

guaranteed. Later on, you will receive a card asking you to call and verify your information ,

make changes, etc, and indicate whether or not you want to purchase the directory. There will

also be a personalized “Tribute Print” available for purchase. More details will be forthcoming.

You are not required to purchase anything. That is entirely your decision, but your profile information

will still appear in the directory. Please call me at (863) 859-1384 or email me at fcohee@kwva.org

if you have any questions.

Frank Cohee, National Secretary, KWVA

May – June 2009

The Graybeards

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