Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Best forgotten

Happy 90th anniversary of the start of World War I. Here’s more on the survivors, 4 of whom showed up at the Cenotaph in London (there are 23 British veterans of the Great War still living), and are profiled and interviewed here. One of them even has one of those and-if-I-didn’t-have-a-pocket-watch-to-take-that-German-bullet.. stories. As I noted a couple of days ago, there is tension in their stories between the need to remember and the awfulness of those memories. One said, "I will never forget my comrades. You cannot think about the morbid things that took place. If you did, you could not go on." He’s 108 (and doesn’t look a day over 107), so no one can accuse him of not going on. Another: "You've gone over the top, you're buried in muck and when they dig you out you've got another face looking at you. And that face hasn't got a body, and the rest has been blown away. ... No one would know what it was actually like unless they were there. Your imagination won't go that far. It's best forgotten." Story. Other story.

Speaking of historical memory, one of those surveys I’m never entirely sure whether to believe says that half of 16- to 24-year olds in Britain know that when Protestants march on July 12 in Northern Ireland, they are commemorating the Battle of the Boyne (1690), while 15% think it was the victory at Helm’s Deep (in the second book of The Lord of the Rings).

While both Bush and Kerry were campaigning in Davenport, Iowa, three banks were robbed. Does anyone know where Dick Cheney was at the time?

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