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GUEST,John Amendall Origins: Buddy Can you Spare a Dime - who was Al? (64* d) RE: Origins: Who was Al in Buddy Can you Spare a Dime 09 Jul 13

I think Yip reached for a rhyme. The term 'mac' refers to a rough character. Pimps and other lumpenproletariat types, like Mack the Knive, were known as macks in the US by the late nineteenth century and onward.

The song in question refers specifically to the veterans of the American Expeditionary Force who fought in Europe in 1917-18. Promises were made to these veterans; promises were broken. And by the time they built their Hooverville in Washington DC in 1932, they were known as the 'Bonus Army,' because they had been promised a 'bonus' for their overseas service (the bonus was not set to come due until 1945 when many of the veterans would be dead).

When General MacArthur and his adjutants, Majors Eisenhower and Patton destroyed their encampment (Patton actually led six tanks against them) and drove them out of DC, order was restored in the republic.

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