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The Faces Of Our Ancestors: A Moment With Bill Reflection

Updated on October 17, 2013

They Are Always with Me

Every book is a quotation; and every house is a quotation out of all forests, and mines, and stone quarries; and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

They are always with me.

Silently in the night they come to me, bidding me hello, wrapping their arms around me in an ethereal embrace every bit as real as the corporeal one of years gone by. They whisper in my ear as sleep approaches, murmur to me as sleep envelopes me, and even during my waking hours I can hear them urging me on, advising me and imploring me to never give up the fight.

Their faces are forever etched on the tintypes of my mind. The ruggedly handsome face of my father, the smile of my mother, the chiseled, grizzled look of Uncle Jim and the perpetual fear in the eyes of Uncle Mike; my sister’s smile, my grandmother’s curls and my great-aunt’s toothless grin; all there to review, learn from and enjoy at a moment’s notice.

And so it is with all of us, and in a very real sense we are all related, all progeny of an original tribe, offspring upon offspring in a constant flow of begetting, the ever-growing family of human beings.

Look in the faces of those who came before you. Do you see yourself there?

Source
Those who came before me
Those who came before me | Source

The Pioneers

Look at their faces.

No shrinking violets here my friends. These are people who had a goal and by sheer force of will and determination made that goal happen. To have a better life. To have better opportunities. In truth, to boldly go where few had gone before.

Go west young man, go west, and while you are at it, say goodbye to family, friends, the only home you have ever known, and face months of agonizing travel through some of the most inhospitable land man has ever traversed. How to get there? Follow the sun, day in, day out, come rain or sleet or snow or tornado or windstorm….and do it on foot, 2000 miles, beat back the hunger, pray against cholera and thirst and a hundred other possible tragedies that patiently await our intrepid travelers.

Look at their faces. There is no joy there; nor is there self-pity. What there is is the kind of backbone, gut-wrenching, spit in the face of the devil grittiness that understands that rewards do not come to those unwilling to face risks. What there is is a spirit that refuses to retreat, refuses to surrender and refuses to settle for the status quo.

Those are your ancestors. Look at their faces.

My family, settling in Minnesota
My family, settling in Minnesota | Source
Source

The Settlers

Look at their faces.

Try this the next time you are bored and in need of stimulation. Travel to the interior of Alaska, hundreds of miles from the nearest settlement. You carry only what is on your back and you begin a new life. With an axe you level the forest; with a plow you cultivate the earth. You build a home, by hand, and survive on the crops that you raise, one eye on the skies in hopes that nature will provide this year, and the next, and the next.

In need of medical assistance? Tough it out! In need of luxuries? Forget about it! In need of companionship? None exists!

Impossible you say? Think again, for our lifestyle today was built upon the backs of those ancestors who did exactly that. We have no idea today…we have no stinking clue what these people went through, and yet their blood flows through our blood and their faces reflect the same DNA as ours.

Look at their faces. Do you see it? Are you facing your own obstacles? Find the solution within, for all that you need was given to you hundreds of years ago. Those are your ancestors. Look at their faces.

The perfect song for this message

The Warriors

The thousand-yard stare, a familiar phrase to those who have been in battle. Take a farm boy from Iowa and transport him to a killing field and you will see the thousand yard stare. Take a shop clerk from Pennsylvania or Worcester or Dublin, and drop him in a foxhole thousands of miles from home, as the bullets nearly miss and the smell of death blankets the air, and more than likely you will see the thousand yard stare.

It is the stare of a man, or woman, who has come to realize that life hangs by the barest of threads, that the difference between seeing loved ones again and becoming a statistic can be measured in millimeters or seconds. It is the stare of one who is suddenly face to face with mortality and yet still manages to climb out of that foxhole on demand and race into the line of fire.

I have heard it said that there are no atheists in a foxhole; I might also add there are no cowards there as well. Only human beings and they are your ancestors.

Look at their faces.

Do you have a caregiver in your family?

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The Caregivers

Let us not forget that life is not just exploration, facing danger and defying odds. In every society, since the beginning of civilization, there have been those who sought only to help others. The nurses, the doctors, the social workers and the clerics, tirelessly giving aid and comfort to those in need; risking their own lives so that others might find peace; look at their faces and try to find yourself.

In every war zone you can find them. At every catastrophe and every emergency and every moment of pain you can find them. They are there with a touch, a word of companionship, a bridging of any gaps that may exist between us, for they understand that at our core we are all the same, and every single person will one day be in need of empathy.

They were there during the French Revolution and they were there during the American Civil War. They gave aid at Yorktown and they gave aid in Rwanda and Joplin, Missouri. They are the hospice workers and the missionaries, the medics and the food bank volunteers, and you can count their riches in the smiles they receive rather than in the salary paid.

They are your ancestors. Look at their faces. Do you see yourself?

They are always with me
They are always with me | Source

They Are Always with You

My ancestors wandered lost in the wilderness for forty years because even in biblical times, men would not stop to ask for directions.

Elayne Boosler

Look at that quotation…..”lost in the wilderness because they would not stop to ask for directions”…..there are days when I wonder if the entire human race is lost. Two hundred years from now, what will historians say about our generation? We give clever names to generations….the Baby Boomers, the Me Generation, Generation Y and Generation Z….but what of our character? What are our values as displayed in our actions as a society because let’s face it, actions speak infinitely louder than words. What do we say to the future by the way we conduct our lives?

Are we lost? All we need do is ask for directions, and who better to ask than our ancestors? If we are in short supply of determination and willingness and courage and compassion, ask what our ancestors would do. If we find ourselves lacking in empathy, spirit and moral character, ask what our ancestors would do.

They are not far from us. They steal visits every night. Look in their faces….do you see them? Do you see the answers that have eluded you for so long? That have eluded us for so long?

They are here now. Look at their faces.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      True that, Deb! I think at times that life has become a bit too easy for many in society; a little hard work ethic would be good for many. :) Thanks for your thoughts.

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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      In ancestry, there is a kindred spirit with all of us. It was hard work, work that made people proud of what they accomplished. Their fingers were worked to the bone and when they went to bed in night, they were too tired to be happy for what they did. They just woke up in the morning and did the same thing again. We are all related, and I think the faces are all the same. The few, the proud.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dianna! Looking in the mirror I often wonder who is looking back at me; being adopted does rob us of a little in that respect.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I sometimes look in the mirror and see my grandmother looking back at me. She was a very strong character and wonderful mother. Yes, looking back we can find some shadows of meaning. You said this well.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The best thing for sure, Ann....and I, for one, am glad that you are back with us.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      I know what you mean! I'm actually catching up with a long list of notifications that I couldn't access well when I was away - nearly up to date now! That'll teach me to go galavanting around France. Home for a good long time now and loving my familiar, cosy surroundings and time with family - the best thing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Ann! I have seen a lot of you today; it's almost like having a cup of tea together. Very nice! Your words are right on my friend, and if you think it is one of my best then I am flattered.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Very wise words. What's the point of life if we don't learn by example, if we don't use our ancestors' experiences to build our own lives, our own philosophies? We all make mistakes but we can make fewer if we look back to the brave ones, the kind ones, the caring ones, the adventurous ones, the creative ones. This is such a thought-provoking hub, one of your best I think. Ann

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, what are you doing, lurking in the shadows ready to deliver European history to the unsuspecting commentators of my hubs? LOL What a great comment. I might just pay you to handle my comments on these types of articles; you do a much better job than I do.

      Well done Sir!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, it's always a pleasure, believe me. I love connecting with readers. Thank you so much.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 3 years ago from south Florida

      So well-written and meaningful, Bill, every single reader can connect. Thank you for this beautiful privilege.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Tillsontitan, the Czechs formed an essential element in the Royal Air Force, fighting the German Luftwaffe over southern England in the Battle of Britain. Later, alongside the Poles, Free French and other contingents from Nazi occupied Europe at El Alamein, forcing the Afrika Korps under Erwin Rommel back towards Libya. Again, under the auspices of Generals Alexander and Montgomery they pushed up through Italy.

      Unfortunately, as with Poland, Joe Stalin had other thoughts about the Czechs' and Poles' role in Europe. Had it not been for one foolish, short-sighted Englishman by the name of Neville Chamberlain, the Czechs were short-changed in 1938 by his pithy 'Peace in our time' statement when he stepped out of the plane from Munich. After that grand gesture in declaring war on Germany on 3rd September, 1039 he had even less clue how we were going to help the Poles from here. On stilts, maybe? He was a first-rate peacetime PM, but no war leader. He was gone by 1940, shuffling first out of No.10, then off this mortal coil.

      Dubcek had a great noble gesture (two fingers towards Moscow), but 1968 was 21 years too early for that sort of nobility. When Lech Walesa stepped on their toes Moscow's day was almost over anyway. Come 1989 the Soviets had lost their direction.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary yes, I'm there with you. There is a little something missing for me in this hub, but the spirit remains. :) Thank you for your reflections my friend and I hope you have a wonderful and productive week.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      As you know, like you I am adopted and though I relate to what you're saying I look at it from a different perspective. My birth mother, from Czechoslovakia in the forties. A struggle for identity certainly plagued the Czechs...the rule of the aristocracy...aspirations for independence...sound familiar? That was in Czechoslovakia's history.

      Wikipedia tells me in 1941 "Czechoslovak military units fought alongside Allied forces"...so I share a commonality in my blood!

      Then there are my 'real parents' ...

      Well done as always my friend...look at their faces!!!

      Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and shared.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kim, I love it. They see your mother and grandmother in you....there is living proof of this hub. Thank you for that and thank you for your loyalty. You are appreciated.

      bill

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      ocfireflies 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Bill,

      This piece is powerful and creative with such lines as "Their faces are forever etched on the tintypes of my mind."

      I love looking at the pictures steeped in that sepia ink.

      I have an aunt who can't look at me without seeing her mother, my grandmother and that makes me really smile.

      Thank you again for producing such great work and making reading so worthwhile.

      Sending Warm Wishes To You My Friend,

      Kim

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alan, I always find stories and histories like your fascinating. I am adopted so I truly have no clue about my bloodline....but my adopted family's story will most likely end with me. So much of the history is buried here and there; the stories I was told are hazy and there is little documentation for any of it. I can track some history back to the mid-1800's but that's as far back as I can take it without help and there is no help to be found. I envy you that my friend.

      Sorry about the weight of those comments; you need to get here sooner. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you as always vkwok!

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Here's me back at the bottom of one of your comments columns (the weight of it - feels like I'm Charles Atlas!)

      We had a 'care-giver' in the family, my paternal grandmother. She'd been a nurse at around the end of WWI, and I think that's where she met her first husband who'd been gassed. He died from the effects of the gassing and she moved on to a post of District Nurse in the eastern part of the North Riding (Yorks.) One of her charges was the grandfather of the present Marquis of Normanby who had a big house near Whitby where she nursed him until his death. She was also a midwife in later years on Teesside during WWII after marrying my Grandad in the early 20's. She died in the late 80's before her 90th.

      Her Dad's got an interesting story though. He ran away to join the cavalry, twice. The second time his family left him in. They were from St Leonard's in Sussex, were lighthouse keepers and had the name Balcombe (local village, where demonstrations against 'fracking' hit the headlines). Anyway, Grandad 'Balcombe' as we knew him left the army and became a warehouseman in Leeds, but he still waxed his moustache in the manner of a cavalryman when I knew him in the 50's. As a reservist n.c.o. he'd been sent to Ireland in the 'Troubles' back in the early 20's. Lively, like I said.

      Grandad's family were farm labourers from near Kings Lynn in North Norfolk who were taken on by agents for North Yorkshire ironstone mine owners at a hiring fair in neighbouring Lincolnshire. Great Grandad Lancaster married a farmer's daughter who inherited her Dad's farm near Stokesley in the North Riding but working and living in damp conditions underground had played havoc with his lungs and he died in the early 20th Century. Great Grandma Lancaster had sixteen kids, two dying in infancy, two from scarlet fever and the rest dispersed around the county as well as South Durham, the two youngest ones - about two decades between eldest and youngest - inherited the farm and Grandad finished up working in a steel plant not far from where he died in 1977 from cancer.

      That's just scratched the surface.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Great and interesting hub, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, that is one of my all-time favorite songs...so glad that you liked it. Thank you for your kind words. The standards I have set are for me alone and I may never reach them, but that does not mean I shouldn't try. :)

      love,

      billy

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, I heard somewhere that the past is never truly past. I believe that. The lessons taught us are all around us....the example of bravery and determination surround us....we just need to open our eyes and see them and learn from them.

      More hugs and blessings coming your way dear friend

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sue, that is a perfect example of this hub. Can you imagine someone doing that today? It might happen but it certainly is not the norm of society.

      Thank you my friend and enjoy your weekend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pamela. I am fascinated by the struggles they endured and by how far we have come since...and how little we have learned.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith....a lack of moral character. I agree completely. Morality is only convenient today if it is easy to do. We are a convenience society and being moral often times is not convenient. The sad truth.

      blessings and thanks always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Shyron! Hopefully we will never forget that fact. Thank you for sharing that quote.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      moonlake, those that traveled in covered wagons were definitely tough individuals. Thanks for sharing your family memories with us.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thinking is a good thing, Liz; have fun and have a great Friday. Thank you!

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      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      My ancestors wandered lost in the wilderness for forty years because even in biblical times, men would not stop to ask for directions.”

      Elayne Boosler

      Wonderful hub again Billy ;I always think to myself that by today you have set yourself a pretty high standard her on HubPages but not once have you disappointed. Voted up and shared my very dear friend. Have wonderful day .P.S. Hadn't heard the song before but will certainly be playing it every so often from now on. Brilliant !!!!!Eddy.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      O, yes, Bill the faces of our ancestors are so much a part of who we are, or at least who I am. My father would regale us with stories of his youth--he was born in 1892 and his family was very poor. I don't know how many lived in the tiny home in Kentucky but it had one room.

      But he never complained about the poverty, they 'made do.' He told me too of working as a young man after he had fought in more than one war in fields for 25 cents a day.

      He told me too of his Father's death in a Hatfield/McCoy feud...

      And of course there are many other faces in my ancestral gallery and so many more tales that I cherish.

      And all of our national ancestors who have messages for us if we only listen...there really is so much to be learned from the past...too often people say they don't care about it, it is done....but for me, that is not so...that to me is where the lessons lie.

      thank you Bill for causing me to pause and consider once again.

      many Angels are on the way this morning have a lovely weekend...blessings to you ps

    • profile image

      Sueswan 4 years ago

      Hi Bill

      My brother once asked my mother to name someone who she thought was a genius. She said her father, our Grandad Jones.

      He only had a sixth grade education but through correspondence he became a third class engineer.

      He also built the home where my mother, aunt and uncle were raised.

      Voted up across the board and sharing

      Have a great day!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      I really enjoyed this hub is we took a look at our ancestors, and all the men and women who toughed it out and did what needed to be done in this world. I have been studying my personal ancestry for over 20 years I have seen these types of pictures many times and read about the difficulties and yet they persevered. Use many good examples and wrote a very interesting hub.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Fine piece of writing here dear Bill. My brother has been really looking into all of our family history and we are fascinated at such a life they had lived. I find it a bit sad that our society here, does not hold the older family members in high regard as to their wisdom, as do many other cultures do outside the US. We could learn a lot from them, as to value our older and wiser family members and learn much from our ancestors indeed.

      Just this day, I was attempting to convey to a friend about that very fact of a lack of compassion and courage in doing what we ought to know is right when it comes to showing empathy to others. It is certainly a lack of moral character for sure and fear of the unknown, when fear in and of itself is crippling us as a society.

      Up and more and sharing

      Have a great weekend,

      Faith Reaper

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago from Texas

      Bill, this is beautiful. This brings to mind a quote I read somewhere, maybe when doing my family tree. "I am who I am because of who they were!"

      Voted-up, UABI, and shared.

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      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      I love doing my ancestry and found some interesting family members. My grandmother traveled in a covered wagon how hard that must have been. I really enjoyed your hub. Voted up and shared.

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      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Such a warm and heartfelt hub here today. I am amazed by ancestry and wish I knew more about my family as I'm sure there would be some interesting stories. This is one of those hubs that make ya think, which is what I'm doing now. :) Thanks for a beautiful message.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      True words, Jackie. Those were such brutal times for all; it's no wonder they did not smile. As for us...a bit too easy a life I suspect. :)

      Thank you as always my friend

      bill

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      What all they did to get us here and photos I look at are not too many smiling faces. Today even in our hardships and trials we seem to be able to smile, thanks to the ones who cut the path for us all, even today in less rugged avenues, we have it made, a map with arrows for every road.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, that has always been one of my favorite songs and the line you chose my favorite line. Isn't it poignant? Only someone who has lost someone close to them can fully understand that line. It comes as no surprise to me that you picked it our immediately.

      Thank you my friend. No smiles indeed; I have numerous pictures from the turn of the century and not one smile can be found....and probably for a very good reason. :)

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      So deep! The video actually does have the perfect song for this message. The line, "Death is there to keep us honest..." really hit home. In the last six months, between the death of my dad, the very recent death of my husband's mother, my brother's heart-attack, and the death of my best friend's brother, I'm aware of the eminence of death. I've looked at a ton of pictures with ancestors I have never met. No one ever smiles (I just realized that today as you pointed it out). But, I know the stories about how hard they worked to help us have what we have today. I guess if I had to work as hard as they did, I wouldn't be smiling pretty for the camera either.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good afternoon, Joe! As usual you have provided me with a history lesson and beautiful reflection. Thank you for that; I'm sure I'll use that information in a book in the not so distant future, and I'll think of you when I do it. :)

      Have a wonderful Thursday my friend! They are ours to enjoy.

      Aloha

      bill

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      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      "Look at their faces..."

      Bill, good morning, my friend! The ancient Hawaiians took this same theme of "Remember your ancestors; remember your ancestry; you are because they were, and your children will be, in turn, because you are..."

      They didn't have a written language, so for the sake and spirit of posterity, they created chants which in turn became songs. Men and women danced to these chants and songs, giving birth to the hula.

      These things came to mind as I read your lovely tribute just now. We who once raced into our respective futures as if tomorrow would never come soon enough now pause to reflect the swift passage of time and the meaning of it all.

      You've made one more memorable mark on the cave wall, my friend. Centuries from now, if the earth still exists, someone will uncover your marks, my marks, their marks...all of our current generations' faces...and will repeat the theme to themselves and to each other and to the generations to come: "Look at their faces..."

      Thank you for the warm fire this morning, Bill! Aloha!

      ~Joe

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Denise, we should indeed. I have some serious concerns about this generation of Americans...we need to learn some humility and stop with the feelings of entitlement. :) Thank you for stopping by.

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      Denise W Anderson 4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      What a poignant reminder of our own insignificance and dependence on those who have already sacrificed that we might be here. We ought to get on our knees and thank God for them every day! Then, maybe then, we would remember.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...you do the same, Larry, and thank you once again.

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      Larry Kitzmann 4 years ago

      That last entry should have read You are truly and not Your truly. Yes I'm still looking for that computer that knows how to spell what I'm trying to write. Take care my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Larry, I love stuff like that. I am the keeper of our family heirlooms, and many a picture from that time period are in my possessions. Love it! Thank you for your kind words about my writing. Gifted or not, I love writing.

    • profile image

      larry kitzmann 4 years ago

      Once again my friend, beautifully said and much food for thought. As a history buff and former teacher of same I'm always impressed by how you put things so perfectly together with such a natural flow of thoughts. Your truly are a gifted and talented writer. As a former teacher I thought you would appreciate this as it somewhat goes along with your writing of today. My wife found a marriage document from 1883 along with a teaching certificate from the state of Nebraska issued in 1885 both to her great great aunt. They are both being properly matted and framed and will hang proudly on one of the walls out at the farm along with pictures of the same period and a little later. Have a great rest of the day my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora my dear, that is the hope. Now if we can just see the reality of your wish. Thank you for your continued loyalty and friendship. You are greatly appreciated.

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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      An excellent dose of encouragement, enthusiasm and perseverance. To realize that we are part of a family much larger than we can see, with more potential than we ever imagine, should encourage us to live to the fullest--not only for ourselves but for those who come after us. Thank you! Voted Up.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, DJ, I'm adopted, so I'm flying blind a bit myself, and that lump on my head is growing as I write this. :) Still, your critique of my writing is greatly appreciated so I thank you as always.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I don't have a clue how we turn it all around but I agree completely with you. We can call this generation the "I give up" generation, and hope that their offspring develop better work habits. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Carol, I think you are right. Chickens are a great place to start and like you, I would go back, not forward....it might have been tougher back then but it wasn't nearly as difficult if you get my meaning. :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great example, Brandi! My mom was a welder during WW2....grandparents were Iowa corn farmers....tough, tough stock to come from and be proud of. Like you, I wish I would have asked more questions and listened more to the stories.

      Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 4 years ago

      A very interesting read, Bill.

      You did an amazing job bringing the faces of those who have come before us, showing their dedication and drive to accomplish their dream.

      Bill, I wish I could say that I relate to this super article. But, I feel like I

      was dropped out of the sky, and landed on my head. Ha, ha

      Still, your article is amazing. Great job, Bill!

      DJ.

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      You bring light to the "I can't" generation. I think that's the state we are in as a whole. Too many people don't believe in themselves or finding solutions to their problems. They say, "I can't" and give up. We are blessed with a life full of choices. Giving up shouldn't be one of them.

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      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      As we know life is changing but we are still a product of our past with continual growth and change on a daily basis. If I had my choice to go back 100 years or go forward..I would go back. We all have to create our own "simple" lives which is very difficult today...I think it starts with chickens in your yard.

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      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      This is so true and speaks to me on so many levels. I think about my great-grandmother. She was one of the first women to work as a pipe fitter for the United States building subs. She had children to raise, dishes to wash, a house to keep, even two dogs. She also had a hard life. First she was the wife of a coal miner. She was divorced, single, had to send her children to another state to live with relatives so she could bring home the bacon so to speak. When she passed away at almost 90, she had so much to share with me. I wish I had been older and more mature when she passed so I could have engulfed everything she told me.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Randi, you summed it up perfectly. Now I need to go see what your new hub is all about. Thank you as always.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DDE; I always like seeing you show up in my neighborhood with a kind word. :)

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      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Awesome, Bill, great message, perfect song. Sometimes in our world of "it's all about me" we forget that if not for them, there is no me! Thank you for thoughts to ponder!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Poolman, I couldn't agree with you more. I saw this shift happening while I taught school....there is a growing sense of entitlement and I simply don't understand how it came to be. Hard work and determination are a winning combination no matter what goal you are chasing....why is that so hard to understand for many out there?

      Thanks for your thoughts my friend. I appreciate you.

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      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      The Faces Of Our Ancestors: A Moment With Bill Reflection so much has changed in all those years and look at it now a well written hub and so much to think about here

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      Old Poolman 4 years ago

      Good morning Bill - Two words that were used sparingly many years ago are very common today. Those two words are "Can't" and "Impossible."

      Had anyone told one of the pioneers they couldn't clear their fields of trees with nothing but a shovel, an axe, and a couple mules, they might not have tried. It took them years to accomplish, but they did it.

      In other words, nobody advised them this was nearly "impossible," so they just went ahead and did it.

      Now the pendulum has swung the other way, and children are told every day about all the things they can't do, or shouldn't do. "Don't play tag on the school ground because you might get hurt."

      "Just put on your uniform and show up for the game and you will get a trophy." No effort required on the child's part, just show up and get a trophy.

      The intentions are good, but the harm to the child will stay with them for their entire life. Just think about how this country would be today if the pioneers had been raised with this "can't do" or "no effort required" philosophy.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, your point is a valid one. We have not faced harshness like our ancestors and I'm not sure we are up to the task......there are days I'm not sure we as a society can handle the life we have been born into, but I keep hoping.

      Blessings to you always

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, thank you for commenting on the flow of my words. That was a very nice gift you just gave me.

      Oddly I'm adopted, so writing about "blood" ancestors is a bit of a stretch for me......but even though I did not know my birth family, many of my actions and thoughts are because of them.....so....thanks for sharing your thoughts on this and have a great day.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, there is great comfort, I think, in knowing that our roots are so deep. I'm glad you are aware of that and find joy in it. Thank you my friend and enjoy the heck out of today.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, this is heartfelt, true and very powerful. This article should be read by those politicians who are currently holding the US to ransom. Whatever names we use to describe our generation, the reality is that we do not know what it means to struggle. I hope to God, that we are never tested like your ancestors in the old days, because we will most surely be found wanting. Great write loved the images.

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      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill, I have not had such a fast read in many years. The artistry of the flow of your writing is just amazing. It is as if the words just drop out and there is a synergistic flow of your thoughts to mine. Amazing and glorious.

      On the ancestors -- well my better half comes from a land that practices what we call "ancestor worship". We have had four death day "anniversaries" where spend some time eating and drinking together in the memory of an ancestor who passed on that day --- one 35 years ago. And yes to me, they speak all day long to me and guide me --- when I do not listen I inevitably fall into mistakes.

      Thanks mucho dude!

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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, what a beautiful article today and I will admit I love looking at pictures of those who came before me to see if I can connect in some way, shape, or form. And I do so much agree with you that (especially with those of relation from the past) I do see bits and pieces or myself and can very much relate. It does make me happy to know I do belong and I did fit somewhere. Thanks Bill and wishing you a wonderful day now!