Monday, March 19, 2012

Anniversary, So What?

What's more meaningful , the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War or the Bicentennial of the War of 1812?

Remember the grand hoopla of the 200th birthday of our country in 1976?  (Oh that's right, some of you weren't even born yet!)  Except for the fireworks and the new commemorative postage stamps, it was much ado about nothing.

And we all remember the big yawn of the Bicentennial of Lincoln's birth?  It was so important that at the re-dedication of the Lincoln Memorial the President of the United States was nowhere to be found.  Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, wearing his white cowboy hat represented President Obama.

Do these remembrances on the anniversary mean anything more if it was 132 years or 76 years?  I have come to believe the ____centennial commemorations are no more meaningful than the off year types.

I started visiting Gettysburg in the early 1990s.  When I was lucky I would be able to make it several times a year.  The trip to Gettysburg was what made the time in between visits bearable.  So when I retired in 2007, I purchased a home there and moved there to enjoy my retirement years near the sacred and hallowed ground.

Over the last several years my passion has increased for that rolling landscape and it has started to expand to other sites associated with American history. 

I tend to avoid the crowds of visitors which include the costumed middle-aged Americans trying to look like our thinner and leaner ancestors.  The primary reason is I dislike crowds but I also think it is silly to dress up in bygone clothing unless there is an educational purpose involved..  And to be honest,  when the crowds are gone who is there to view the graves or monuments and who is there to truly remember or commemorate?  Usually, it's just Max and I.

I think it is equally  important to remember that 2012 is the Bicentennial year of the start of the War of 1812 and a year during the sesquicentennial of the American civil war.  Americans sacrificed and suffered in both wars and that includes American Indians.

I believe anniversary dates are more important to tourism, the guiding profession and book authors rather than truly remembering the sacrifices of those who have gone before us.

It's just something to think about.

Max and I.

Wyoming Monument.

All rights  reserved. Gerald J. Desko 2012 

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