Your Humble Blogger made a note of a terrific poem for our Tohu Bohu tradition, but now I can’t locate the note. It’s likely on one of the dead computers around here. Well, and rather than hunting for a replacement poem (and after all, there will be a Memorial Day next year, one hopes) I’ll just direct Gentle Readers to David W. Bright’s New York Times essay called Forgetting Why We Remember. Those who don’t pay for the New York Times can presumably use the Google Search backdoor or wait a couple of days, because (imao) this is worth one of the free slots.
I was particularly struck by the memorial to Union Martyrs and to the freedmen of Charleston placed in a park named for a Confederate General. There’s something, it seems to me, peculiarly American about the way we dissolve history. This dissolution—I mean it in the sense that the history is still there, but without definition or structure, the true American Melting Pot—causes tremendous amounts of trouble and suffering, and it’s the trouble that I’m aware of mostly. The way we can’t wrap our heads around race and class and inheritance, the way we fail to learn from history, our stubborn insistence that our nation and its human inhabitants are outside the recursion of patterns. It’s awful and frustrating.
And yet… there is also something tremendously hopeful about that dissolution of history, for all that is lost and destroyed, for all that isn’t recovered and made whole. I want Memorial Day to be about—well, about remembering the Dead, thinking about the wars and decorating the graves and dedicating ourselves to the great unfinished work. And yet… the politickingand the purchasing and the propane grills, are a part of this hopeful dissolution, the ability we seem to have as a nation to keep from weeping by building—or knocking down, but moving forward, anyway.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,