Letter: Honor the past
Just reviewed Ken Burns’ “Civil War” on PBS. The Civil War is not a part of a continuum in our history; it’s a landmark, not unlike BC and AD. It was a break in an era when we saw ourselves, the United States from plural “are” to singular “is.” It is from this change that we take regret. We felt the connection to those whose souls departed on the other side of what we have to face, what we must become.
Ever so poignantly it is expressed on a personal as well as a metaphorical level in the song, “When You and I Were Young, Maggie.” It talks about reflecting back upon specifics then, and how they have changed, and are now — what might have been, and what is and how it will always be for others to follow. The sentiment is not in the “might have been,” but in the unique moments shared between people in the previous world. It’s dusting off a relic of our past and realizing it is past.
That was the Civil War. We are now awakening to meaning of our past in regards to what has happened since that antebellum time, past the next landmark in our memories, WWII. Those were the heady baby boomer days of free love, drugs, sex and rock and roll. It is time to move on to a realistic future, yet honoring what we leave behind.
“I wandered today to the hills….
“The green growth is gone…..
“They say that I’m feeble with age…
“They say we have outlived our time, Maggie
“As dated as songs that we’ve sung
“But to me, you’re as fair as you were, Maggie
“When you and I were young”
Trust we honor the past and build for the future.
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