Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


November 6, 2012

We the People: Just another memorial?

CROSSVILLE — Veteran’s Day, November 11, was first called WWI Remembrance Day or Armistice Day. Memorials to WWI are scattered across the country. Liberty Memorial in Kansas City is one of the more impressive and much visited. WWI was supposedly “the war to end all wars.”

Wars always result in casualties and produce patriotic vows that “they shall never be forgotten.” Some seniors living today had great-grandparents who were alive during the Civil War. Do they remember them, much less the war? More recent generations are gradually forgetting at least three more recent conflicts marked by memorials in many states. The Korean War memorial in Washington includes 19 stone infantrymen dressed in combat gear and advancing among strips of granite and juniper bushes that represent the rugged terrain of Korea. That war did not end decisively. We negotiated a line and left. Most of us, except perhaps the parents, widows and the maimed, are forgetting. That is human.

The WWII memorial is the last glorious memorial. That war had a clear purpose. The enemy was defined and those who fought were from all walks of life. The veterans are nearly gone now, but the memories of their accomplishments for freedom still permeate our national conscience. Those who search the Vietnam wall for a name are often stirred not by thoughts of triumph and glory but more by grief and fading memories of those who stood with them.

The struggle in Afghanistan and Iraq is our longest war. Those who survive come home by the plane-load, with honor but to few parades. What should memorialize the fallen in the Middle East and Persian Gulf? How could we mark our debt to them with a national monument after the drawn-out conflict ends in the far deserts? Should we build a memorial showing an unmanned drone sending a Hellfire missile into a huddled mass of armed, ignorant religious extremists in the bed of a battered pickup truck? Would a true memorial need miniature oil derricks to note the real cause of the conflict? Would it have the names of those in the Congress who voted for war and those who voted against war?

What memorial might we build to the brave fighters who were hit by IEDs or who dropped from helicopters in strange and distant lands and fought with automatic weapons and grenades in darkness and were gone before dawn, taking their dead and wounded with them? Many secrets are locked in the vaults of intelligence agencies, as in the Cold War. But a giant door marked TOP SECRET would not do. Perhaps the hope of World War I as “a war to end wars” would be better.

How great it would be if we could make a door with a giant exclamation mark and inscribed with: “It ended here. They fought the last wars of humanity. The living who pass through this door, in a world unthreatened by religious insanity and political devolution, should remember the debt as well as the gift. Even as we forget the faces of these final warriors, this memorial will honor what they gave to their heritage and to our survival for as long as American freedom endures.”

Text Only
  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice