However, poor, sad, mortal, personal life inevitably has elements of failure and tragedy difficult to confront. The great appeal of genealogy must surely be that it enables the researcher to rise above the subjective immersion in one's self and family and acquire a higher, hence freeing view of self and family as part of humanity. "Rise above" becomes the key phrase as the aim and focus of this book is to reveal how the quintessential quest emerges or is suppressed in the lives that are described. Clearly, the quest cannot come to light in conflict and war. Nevertheless, it gleams unmistakably at all times as a potential. The second section of the book departs from the Myers family and describes individuals known to the author during the 1960's - the offspring of the war generation - and beyond, especially those who failed in the quest, and thus failed their forerunners, the war generation who sacrificed their lives. No blame or criticism is imparted, but rather an attempt to understand why the quest was not only inadequately expressed, but often lost altogether from view or consciousness, and if retained in philosophical or spiritual reflection and awareness, why it could not become an effective force in so-called ordinary or everyday life. The author in youth seems to bridge a gap between two generations. True to the family lineage, she served in the military between 1961 and 1964 (serving in the "Underground Pentagon" at Fort Ritchie, Maryland during the "Thirteen Days" of the Cuban crisis, and at the Pentagon and Fort Myer, Virginia at the time of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; witnessing Kennedy's burial at Arlington National Cemetery) and then - not at all a military type - did an about-face and went on the quest. Only later in life was it realized that the military experience had not been a mistake, but was essential for the work that was to be.
Lastly, there is no intention to condone war and military excesses. The sad fact remains that war constitutes a very large portion of human history. By the twentieth century it is abysmally outdated, but rages on destructively with the lives of soldiers and citizens at the mercy of dubious causes and purposes. It has become increasingly important for historians to look past the complex surface movements of militarism and war and reveal the hidden motives and manipulators. It is stated in the book Crimes Against Humanity, by Geoffrey Robertson, a British barrister, (New Press NY, 2000) that 160 million people were wasted by war, genocide and torture in the twentieth century.
A social order is needed that will prevent victimization of those who serve and those who seek to contribute in perfect freedom, freedom from any power or authority. Sustainment of well-being for the nation and the globe depends upon service, but redemption and salvation, those critical next steps in human evolution, depend upon deeds of true freedom.
* * *
"Set your course by the stars and not
by the lights of every passing ship."
Omar N. Bradley