Tuesday, June 12, 2007

 

Pirates, Nationals, Memorials, and Stars

I plan on visiting the new Victims of Communism Memorial next Monday afternoon. Mary Katharine Ham has a post about the dedication ceremony which she attended today.

I read her transcript of a portion of Bush's speech at the ceremony and noted the following in bold:

"We dedicate this memorial because we have an obligation to those who died, to acknowledge their lives and honor their memory. The Czechwriter Milan Kundera once described the struggle against Communism as "the struggle of memory against forgetting." Communist regimes did more than take their victims' lives; they sought to steal their humanity and erase their memory. With this memorial, we restore their humanity and we reclaim their memory. With this memorial, we say of Communism's innocent and anonymous victims, these men and women lived and they shall not be forgotten."

This will provide for a good conversation with my travel companion as we roadtrip through D.C. this weekend. Not long ago I attended a party with several Macy's (formerly Marshall Field's in Chicago) employees who were discussing the name and logo change of the Chicago area stores. Several had stories to tell about customers who were upset with the name change to their favorite store.

In some way's the changes seem trivial but there were a few older customers who complained about the red star in the Macy's logo that offended them because they thought it symbolized communism. The mostly younger (under 26) crowd thought that ridiculous. I understand somewhat if they did not think the star represented communism but the negatives of communism seemed completely lost on them as well. That is unfortunate.

No too long ago I was with the same crowd discussing the deadly tsunami of 2004. We were all surprised that the news reports suggested that the locals did not know the warning sign - when the shoreline quickly recedes - of an impending tsunami. I had seen some nature specials on tsunamis before on television and was aware of the process. So how could the locals not know?

Likely after the last tsunami to strike generations ago they were very aware of the warning signs. The parents and children who witnessed the destruction probably made sure that the next generation was aware of such a possibility. But after the next generation grew up with no tsunami their children may have been a bit suspect of such a story of huge waves and massive flooding. And their kids probably made fun of grandma for warning them to be mindful of a quickly receding shoreline that would be followed by a huge wave and massive flooding. Sounds a little like the struggle of memory against forgetting.

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