Can you hear me now?

`During the recent Veterans Days events at New Prague High School, a group of veterans talked about the different ways they communicated with family, friends and others. Just with the six veterans, this ranged from letters and phone calls by land lines to skype and emails.

The thing that struck me is how communication has changed over the years. One way to illustrate that is how phones have changed. During the event, Bring a Veteran to School Day, one veteran who was stationed in Hawaii during Vietnam mentioned how he called home. The half-hour conversation came to a bill of roughly $100 or more.

Dan Puls, who was acting as a coordinator for the event, said to the students they should think about that the next time they are using their cell phones or texting.

Puls’ comment illustrates how communication has changed. Today, we have satellites and cell phone towers relaying messages instead of just using phone lines. Now, a person can pay onefifth of that $100 bill and get 400 minutes on a monthly cell phone plan. To digress, even cell phones have changed since first introduced 30 to 40 years ago. The first ones were the size of a brick and only worked in a limited area. The newest ones can call nearly anywhere in the world and have various other applications, from taking photos to surfing the Internet.

That’s even further alongfrom one of the first communication systems, the telegraph, which was invented in the early 1800s. Samuel Morse created the Morse code, the system used for communicating by the telegraph. Sometimes I think we’ve come a bit of a full circle, since Morse code relays messages by using a series of brief dots and dashes, and people text and Twitter by using abbreviations of words.

We have a wide assortment of ways to communicate today. Newspapers, books and magazines still remain relevant, despite the fact that for years prophets of doom have been saying they’ll be going away. They have changed, as they have in the past, to where newspapers and magazines have a presence on the Internet and books can now be read on an assortment of computer tablets.

There’s also people sharing information over social media such as facebook. A friend pointed out that social media has been around for a long time, although it was originally neighbors chatting over fences or at the local tavern.

Cable networks are dedicated to providing the news around the clock, and a myriad assortment of TV shows that cover everything from health to gossip to entertainment to the sometimes absurd.

One thing we have to keep in mind is that all these types of communication systems won’t do us any good if we don’t actually reach out to people.