Sentimentality creeps up on me again.
As I was walking, reflecting on my dreams, and writing in my head, a voice slipped past the disparate, disorganized words. Drizzle stole in past trees and fresh, cool air invited me out of myself. Looking around, I thought, “What a wonderful world this can be.”
Not always, mind you. Yeah, we know. We’ve seen the images and we’re still reading the stories.
Of course, the voice I was hearing was Louis Armstrong singing “What A Wonderful World.” Armstrong recorded and released it in nineteen sixty-seven. I first heard it before I was a teenager, but it leaped back into public awareness with the movie, “Good Morning, Vietnam,” in nineteen eighty-seven. Serving in the Air Force and stationed in Germany, I saw it in a theater at Rhein-Main Air Base. “What A Wonderful World” was a sobering moment in the film, as the music was juxtaposed against the young military and the weapons of war. Of course, this is a flawed moment; “Good Morning, Vietnam” was set in nineteen sixty-five. “What A Wonderful World” came out two years later. It works, despite that flaw.
Life moves on. Rhein-Main Air Base closed. My unit and its mission, spying against the Soviet Union, is gone, as are the Soviets. We’ve lost Louis Armstrong and Robin Williams, but I’m part of an era where technology saves us from depending on memories alone, allowing us to more sharply and accurately revisit our past. So, here it is again, “What A Wonderful World.”