by Andy Weddington
Friday, 18 December 2015
Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. John Adams
Over morning coffee (strong but not with chicory) I read an article that the city of New Orleans recently decided to remove four long-standing statues from public display.
The casualties memorialize three Confederate stalwarts - President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and General P.G.T. Beauregard (who happened to be a native of Louisiana).
Too to be removed, provided a federal court so orders, a monument honoring the (former) Crescent City White League - a white supremacist paramilitary outfit active in the 1870s.
Suffice to say some folks take offense.
So much for city and American history, markers for posterity, and reminding of the cost(s) of freedom.
This shortsighted silliness follows all the rage to strike and erase the Confederate flag - an offensive that is counter-offending. Those colors, particularly the arrangement thereof, mean different things to different people.
Shortly after breakfast I walked to the Pentagon.
The removal of the statuary in the Big Easy on my mind. Bothersome because I lived in New Orleans for a few years. Fond memories. So what amounts to man-made not Mother Nature destruction hits close to home.
Passing through Pentagon security, though presenting a retired Marine ID, I, as did all, had to remove belt (essentially buckle less); wristwatch; jacket; empty pockets; etc. A Marine Corps bow tie suggesting I was not a threat, I assume. And that was just to get to another visitor holding pen to await an escort, to again have ID scanned and a visitor badge issued, for entry into the building proper.
So goes our world today.
Still the New Orleans madness bubbled.
Part of a small group, we walked - up and down ladder wells (stairs if you're not Marine/Navy), along corridors, and paused at times - a guided tour of the Pentagon. We hit some of the more popular tourist stops, a few off-the-beaten path, and a behind-the-scenes display or two. Interesting.
Though on a similar tour about a year ago, what resonated this morning stronger still was sundry 9/11 displays; memorials; reflection room; and chapel. The moving tributes do justice honoring those murdered. Sobering. I knew one of the Sailors. And saw his name etched more than once. I thought about where I was the awful morning of attack - of all places, on duty downtown New Orleans.
Still thinking about New Orleans I began to wonder for how much longer these memorials in the Pentagon?
When will a group (guess who) muster the courage to rant the 9/11 displays and memorials are insensitive and offensive and demand removal?
It's coming! And most assuredly sooner than later. Frankly, they may already be under attack. The thought sickens me.
Then while walking away from the Pentagon I stopped to take a look back (having worked inside nearly 20 years ago). And wondered why in the hell we still have our national military command and control and brain trust housed in one great big target?
With today's communications (and more concerning, threats) why is not our headquarters dispersed across sundry (locale and number classified) sites not only in the United States but about the globe and afloat?
And gut the Pentagon reconfiguring it into apartments for military retirees - leaving all the current shopping, adding more, and including healthcare. These days and times that seems a more practical function - turn the puzzle palace into a pleasure place.
The city of New Orleans leadership has lost its collective mind. So has our national leadership. And that's using the word "leadership" only as noun proper. Any hint of sane action proper absent.
I remember something Dr. James S. Ferguson (he was chancellor of the university I hold a BA degree from) said when addressing a student gathering. In so many words, 'An institution, of any sort, that neglects preserving its history suffers amnesia.' His background was history.
I was 19 or 20 years old when hearing that perspective and old enough to appreciate the thought. It stuck with me. And it flashed back more than once today.
The societal problem we now face is not only one of not preserving (our) history but purposely destroying it. And destroying because somebody takes offense. Who cares about those offended by the destruction.
Are we now on to a paradigm of destroying the ugly (in the eyes of some) and hence forward keeping history of convenience?
There will be a price to be paid for destroying history - truth. Generations from now, if America survives, will be ignorant - unnecessarily repeating and struggling for our stupidity.
Think about that in context of an educated society.
John Adams had it right. (All) posterity (history) holds value - if only we can make a good use of it.
What the hell, only freedom is at stake!