Serious content alert. This is “odds” as in a mathematical term, not oddities as applies to different things. I’m not certain what keyed the memory. For those old enough to recall the 1970s TV series, “Kung Fu”, you might not have caught the 1990s short-lived “Kung Fu – The Legend Continues”. In the later series, David Carradine played the grandson of his original character and the show took place in modern times. In one episode, an activist had studied with the Master and men he was trying to expose were planning to kill him. At one point, he spoke with the Master and they recalled an exercise the young man had gone through. He’d been surrounded by “opponents” and had asked which ones to strike first. “The ones you cannot see” were the instructions. He held his own for a while, but as he was falling to the mat under the weight of multiple men, he asked what he had done incorrectly. “Nothing,” was the rely. “When the odds are too overwhelming, you will lose.”
With Memorial Day approaching, there will be stories told of men and units who defied what were incredible odds and won. Those are the stories we love to hear and should. There will quite possibly be other depictions of battles lost – battles that perhaps should never have been engaged in or certainly not in the manner they were. The slaughters of World War I come to mind when the deadly consequences of tanks and machine guns were foolishly ignored by generals who wanted to believe they could cling to traditional means of warfare rather than understand the “odds” had been irrevocably changed.
On the other hand, sheer technology does not always win the day as we learned in post-World War II conflicts. Sadly, we enter into another Memorial Day when our troops are still deployed in harm’s way. So, as is the purpose of Memorial Day, do take a few minutes to say a prayer for those who lost their lives in faraway places.