When you have a second, Google “celebrate the civil war.” Page after page of links will pop up. Open a couple and have a read. We did. And below, we offer a sampling of what we found:
“Beginning in 2011, the United States will celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War. Celebrations will be held throughout the country to commemorate events associated with the conflict.”
“Huron Valley to celebrate Civil War Sesquicentennial this weekend.”
“State prepares to celebrate 150th anniversary of Civil War.”
“McDonnell invites Obama to celebrate civil war sesquicentennial in Virginia.”
“Senator: Blacks can celebrate Civil War.”
Celebrate a war? Celebrate devastation, disease, and death?
Stop! Think! Have we no better language skills to express our passion for heritage, history, and humanity?
Celebrate the death of 620,000 Americans? Does this strike you as totally inept, inappropriate…ignorant?
In fairness, much of the above probably comes from naïve writers accustomed to chronicling the every-day Americana of sports and politics…celebrating Super Bowls, U.S. Opens, and March Madness … celebrating “historic” elections, red or blue states, and our ever-changing voter demographics.
But what is there to celebrate when you go to Arlington, Gettysburg, or Andersonville? What is there to celebrate when your great-great grandfather lost his home at Fredericksburg, his arm at Winchester, and his yankee brother in the Wilderness?
Think, America. You’re grabbing the wrong action verb. These tragic, heart-rending , yet epic events are not to be celebrated … but commemorated.
The upcoming First Manassas sesquicentennial next week denotes no opening kickoff 150 years ago. Yes, one side would lose and the other side would win. (And yes, the ignorant–more on this in a future Examiner post–still refer to holders of the Medal of Honor as “winners.”) But it was not a contest to be cheered, applauded, and celebrated.
For war is the worst possible way to solve our problems. Yet it endures … and sometimes … it looms as the only way … to remedy a wrong.
Yet when it’s over… we, the survivors, humbly need to acknowledge the sacrifice of those who gave the last full measure, bind up our wounds, and resolve to find a better way for our children.
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