I was driving along I-65 this morning, half-listening to a WPLN story about the remains of a Civil War soldier recently discovered at a Franklin construction site. But I soon did a comedy spit-take and nearly rear-ended the car in front of me when I learned that two sons of veterans would be on site for the re-interment. Living children of Civil War veterans? How intriguing and bizarre. The radio kindly did the math for me and confirmed that their fathers were very old when they were conceived and born to mothers not yet allowed to vote. From WPLN:
93-year-old Harold Becker of Grand Rapids, Michigan is the son of a Union soldier who fought in the Battle of Franklin, November 30th, 1864.
James Brown of Knoxville is 97. His father was a private in the Confederate army and fought at Shiloh and Gettysburg. At the funeral service, Brown says he'll share stories passed down from his father....
Brown's dad, also named James Brown, was at Appomattox, Virginia when the Confederacy surrendered. He then walked home to Georgia with a knee injured by a mini-ball. It forced him to use a cane the rest of his life.
It's something of a fluke for any child of a Civil War veteran to be alive. Brown was born in 1912 when his father, who had remarried a much younger woman, was 71.
It's hard for me to imagine sharing the earth with people whose fathers were born a century before my father was born. You know, there are still three living veterans of WWI. I suggest they all have babies, right now, so their aged children can freak out my future grandkids as they fly their hoverjets to spacework.