"Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set." ~ Proverbs 22:28
While that particular verse has a very practical application - being honest and not changing property boundaries - it also has a "spiritual" application as well: that of remembrance. With some of the recent discussion about renaming military bases named after Confederate officers, I thought this article was both timely and troubling:
Around the country, war memorials are fallling apart while funds that could be used to repair them are spent on more contemporary and "meaningful" matters.This begs the question: Why aren't these memorials "meaningful for most people"? Could it be because, for "most people", days like Memorial Day and Independence Day have been turned into little more than opportunities for self-indulgence, partying, and vacations? Could part of the blame be assigned to the ruling class elites who, for the most part, depsise our foundings and who use these "days of remembrance" as convenient and annual opportunities for American Exceptionalism bashing and for narcissistic morality plays about previous generations?
For example, according to Newsmax, in Greensboro, NC, where the decades-old memorial to soldiers of WWI is crumbling, University of North Carolina-Greensboro professor David Wharton fears the funds needed to repair the structure will be hard to secure. He thinks that because "the war was a long time ago," the memorial isn't "meaningful for most people" anymore. It seems Wharton's concern is well-founded. In Honolulu, Hawaii, officials are thinking about bulldozing a faltering WWI memorial in order to replace it with a beach.
This points to a moral failing - not of past generations as some in academia like to focus on - but to OUR generation; a moral failing to instill in "most people" respect, honor, and admiration for those who have gone before us and sacrificed so that we could enjoy better lives.
In addition to the reasons noted above, could we as a nation, after more than a decade on a "war-footing", be growing weary of all the memorials and honoring of veterans? Fellow blogger Robert Moore sent me an email earlier today alerting me to the fact that our local public schools here in Augusta County, Virginia were in session yesterday to make up for snow days. What kind of message is that sending to students?
Yesterday I, along with members of my family - children, grandchildren, and sons-in-law - visited the graves of some of our own fathers and grandfathers. There we placed flags, thought in silence, and shared memories of what these men had done and their sacrifices. We do this every year at Memorial Day and, sometimes, Veteran's Day. Sure, we enjoy hot dogs and cookouts as well, but we want those days to mean so much more. Sadly, I think our nation is slowly letting some of these memories slip away. This does not speak well of us.
Note: The photo shown here was taken by historian Robert Moore. This monument sits in Riverview Cemetery (Waynesboro, VA) and overlooks part of the area on which the Battle of Waynesboro occurred in March of 1865. I have ancestors buried in Riverview and spent many happy childhood days exploring that whole area.