Wednesday, October 03, 2007

When This Cruel War is Over: Iraq and the sesquicentennial

Being the age of nine in 1961, I vividly remember that watershed of an event for me, the Civil War Centennial. It was, for better or worse, celebrated in a very public way over the years 1961-1965. My consciousness was raised by a multiple installment pictorial in LIFE magazine, Civil War themed postage stamps, the John Wayne movie "The Horsesoldiers", those classic toy CW soldiers manufactured by Marx, and a cool Civil War color-comic strip that appeared in each Sunday newspaper. Of course there were also special programs on TV, many other cool Civil War toys, and the trip to Getysburg in '64 with my dad and brother.

It was quite a celebration.

Within four years of the close of that event my brother would be in Vietnam, two years after that I'd be on a destroyer in the Pacific and by that time everyone was sick of the war and anything that had to do with war. War movies had lost their popularity, toy soldiers had tanked, GI Joe took an early out and Hasbro turned him into some sort of adventurer cum scientist. Nobody wanted to study on war anymore.

The centennial celebration dodged a bullet. Whither the sesquicentennial?

With 2011 just four years away, and no end of the current war in sight, what might be the impact on public commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War? I'm curious.

I invite your thoughts.

Perhaps, this time around GI Joe will become a Park Ranger...after all he does have that ten point preference.

Just askin' from just north of Boonsboro,

Ranger Mannie

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