The room was dark and dingy when I
entered. The form on the bed was quite still. I was taken aback because I
expected to see a crowd. Instead I was the one of only a few visitors. Even
in the dim light you could tell he still had that strong character about him
even though he is weak and close to death. My what a life he had lived.
There were as many stories not told as there was told and even the most
innocent of them had some excitement. I hated to see him like this. We had
been told that he was close to death, but we just could not bring ourselves
to the point of accepting it. Like a lot of us we expected him to live on
forever and outlive us all. The reality was that it was happening much
sooner than we expected.
In his younger day he stirred excitement everywhere he went. He was the one
everyone looked up to. He had more money than most. He had more resources
than most and a mind that could solve any problems or situations that came
his way. There was nowhere he could not go and have a great influence on the
surroundings. He loaned great sums of money to many and at times even
forgave those loans when it became impossible to repay them. He sent people
to help others. He took their burdens on himself and in many instances would
not accept any more than a thank you for his trouble.
When a neighbor or a friend called for help he would respond in anyway he
could to help. Even at the cost of life or limb he did not back down when
asked for his aid. And believe me it came from all over and from every
direction. He never backed down and he never gave in.
When he passes, I wonder what they will say of him? Will they do as many do
and say what a great man he was and what great deeds he accomplished. It
seems that no matter how people think of you in life, they always seem to
find nice things to say about you when you are dead. I wonder more if there
will be any one who will even speak at all of his passing. Isnít it funny
how many friends we have when we have plenty of money and influence? Isnít
it funny how few friends we have when we loose those things.
He wasnít without some problems. When he sent people to other places to
help, some of them took advantage of the people they were supposed to be
helping and after taking all they could, turned their back and refused to
tell the old man what they had done. Some times later he would find out
about it, but by then there would not be a venue whereby the old man could
make amends. Soon it was apparent to many that they could not trust anyone
sent by the old man and his name and his reputation was beyond repair.
Still the old man had a lot of influence and power and bathed in the riches
he had accumulated. He was not aware of it, but many who worked for him had
already begun to conspire as to how to rob him of his assets. They conspired
from within his own organization to weaken his influence to the point that
by the time he was aware of it his clout, his resources and his money were
gone. The old man awoke one day to find that he was as broke and out of
resources as a teenage mother on welfare.
They say the term for him had been around since the war of 1812 when
soldiers would get rations with the boxes stamped US The real image came
about in 1917 when the famous poster bearing his image appeared in front of
Post Offices and Army recruiting station stating with that famous finger
pointing to you "The Army wants you!".
Uncle Sam has been around for a lot of years and has weathered more storms
than most and still survived. but he is no longer wanted or needed. Once the
personification of this great nation, he is no longer wanted. His kind are
no longer welcome here. We donít know what emblem he will be replaced with.
Oh, some of the people will mildly protest, but before long they will follow
the leaders down the road they have so carefully disguised for so long. The
new image will appear as a new poster in front of the post office and soon
what we see as alien and extreme will become common place.
I think I will sit here in the dim room with my old friend for a little
longer. It is with great anguish that I must see him go. I, like my brothers
and our sons and our grandson, heeded the call from this old man. Many
became disillusioned by being asked to go off, to fight and die, but never
given a chance to fight and win. Maybe with a little luck I will slip away
into my next existence before he does. I am too old to fight, but much to
proud to give in to this new order and new image.