May 24, 2009
Memorial Day in the U.S. started as a way to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War, and was expanded after World War I to include all war dead. Many Americans think of it more generally as a way to meditate on family and friends who have died.
I use it to remember two generations of Americans who worked too hard--and were way too proud--to meditate on lame concepts like work-life balance and get-a-life: the Founders, and my parents' WWII "greatest generation". Both generations were feisty, determined, long-suffering, smart and brave. They built and rebuilt in a spirit of self-reliance--not upon the sad, downward-spiral ethos of "what can you do for me today?"
And to think about Life. In the U.S. and everywhere, it's moving, painful, wonderful, unfair, funny, sad, silly, magical, profound--and in the end too important to be taken seriously. The Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini thought so, too, in his 1973 film Amarcord ("I Remember"), about growing up in small-town Italy.
Posted by JD Hull at May 24, 2009 11:18 PM