(The photo, Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery, is by John Moore, via Getty Images)
In honor of Memorial day, I thought I'd post this link to a Wall Street Journal article that came out a couple of days ago. Came across it by chance and thought it would be fitting for this post over this weekend. Basically, we may assume that bringing back the bodies of the fallen was always considered necessary. But that's a collective lapse of memory. It's a fairly recent development. Of course, seeing those massive graveyards of American dead in European ground from World War II should have made that obvious. But of course we forget...
It's funny, but this is the blog I often have the most trouble thinking up ideas for. Right now, though, I am spoiled for choice. As the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is perhaps the most pressing at the moment, though, I'll mention two sources that show how we have already been here time and time again. The first comes from a Talk of the Town piece by Elizabeth Kolbert about the 1968 accident off the California coast, showing both that we knew everything we needed to know about this stuff way back when, but also mentioning how such catastrophes can, at the right cultural moment, be catalysts for change.
That seemed enough, but then I caught the Rachel Maddow show tonight, which shows how, in 1979, we went through a very similar experience in the Gulf of Mexico. (No, I don't remember it either--that's sort of the point around here, though.)