Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Moment Before a Memory Disappears

Tomorrow, sixty-three years ago, the Korean War Armistice was signed. 

It is for many of us in the Land of the Round Door Knobs, a 'forgotten war' though if you are related, either by blood or history to any of those who served and died there, you probably can argue about the use of 'forgotten.' 

The dead never forget. 
It is we, the living, who too often do. I was barely more than an infant in a family whose mother had a John Kelly whom they loved as a son, a brother, an uncle, a husband and a father who served and survived that war. They didn't forget. But those of us who are the rest?

Sixty-three years ago, the world was very different but in some sad and fundamental ways, very much the same. We lived in fear; then, of the Red Menace and the "Atom Bomb." Now, of war without end against terrors without surcease so profound and pervasive, we can neither name nor number them much less overcome them. 

I sometimes wonder, assuming there is another six decades left in this beaten and bloody pretty blue planet on which we live, what will our children's children think of who we were and what we did when we have been reduced to whispers and shades? Will they, as happened for Carlos Bongioanni of Stars and Stripes, have an opportunity for a walk with those remembering without rancor or regret? 

Will there be tears? Will we still be able to cry for what we had and for what we've lost or, like so much else from sixty years earlier, will those who are following, like we who have followed, just look on in numbed bewilderment unable to understand and unwilling to try? 

It's not yet too late to say 'thank you' to those who served and survived and who have grown old in our midst. So many did not. And no matter what you may have been taught to believe, there are far worse things than being dead. Being forgotten, reduced to less than a memory as if you had never lived, is very nearly all of them.

Thank you.
-bill kenny 

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