The Beat Goes On

The Beat Goes On

By Floyd Miller

 

 

 

By Rusty McLenOver the weekend, I watched most of Ken Burn’s movie on World War II that aired some time ago on PBS. One of the major themes of the film is about the global effect of the war from Europe to the Pacific to every corner of small town America. Despite the hopes of all, the war went on and on for years dominating the daily lives of everyone. It consumed the troops, the families, the factories, and the communities. Plants were converted from making cars to airplanes, truck, and tanks. Rubber, milk, sugar and many other popular items were rationed for the {{more}} war effort. Children led recycling drives with their little red wagons gathering scrap materials that could be recycled. Even bacon grease was recycled for the glycerin that was used in the production of ammunition. Bacon grease and ammunition? Who knew the connection between those two before the war?The war reached into places of Americans they did not know existed before. It changed people and the psyche of the country forever. The struggle revealed character and capability no one knew existed before. Constant struggle and carnage took people beyond their fears to levels of confidence they would not have had except for the war.Such is life. Circumstances arise that dominate the schedule, the spirit, and perspective. Sometimes the events go on for moments and sometimes they go on for years. Perhaps it is the economy, world events, family dynamics, dire health issues, or even a neighbor with a dog that barks at night when you are trying to sleep.When distressing events settle in on us like that, what is a rational and reasonable goal to pursue? I for one simply want it to go away. But sometimes it just doesn’t. As the song suggests, The Beat Goes On and on and on. It can be exhausting if not demoralizing.At some point during the war effort, everyone settled into the reality that it was going to take what it took for as long as necessary. So the goal shifted from making it go away to enduring it without being destroyed. The struggle began to deliver us from some of our racial foolishness regarding our black citizens and Japanese Americans who were as loyal to this country as anyone. Thousands of good paying jobs helped to end the equally savage effects of the Great Depression. Interspersed among the years of heartache, there were birthday parties, weddings, and babies were born alongside the blue stars in the windows of Mothers with sons in the war that often shifted to Gold Stars when those sons died. Our country got into a groove and survived the war day by day.Getting into a groove of playing to our strengths, rolling with the punches, helping our neighbors, and maintaining the hope that one day this will pass even though it is hard to see that point from here is the goal. Hardship need not be the only Beat That Goes On, so can the beat of determination.