Monday, May 30, 2022

More than Remembering

  Photo from the Historical Marker Database

This marker is in Elkridge. It’s on Old Washington Road in front of the former Norbel School building. The building was originally a public school. 

If I were an historian I could tell you when it was placed, and how many Elkridge residents went to fight in wars but never came home. I chose Elkridge because I imagined that its long history would likely mean more memorials to beloved local sons. I had the naïveté to believe the information I was seeking would be right at my fingertips.

So what I did today was more of a beginning. It was a reminder that some local stories will not just be a click away. I need to do more and study more if I want to know more. How many times did war come knocking and ask Elkridge families to sacrifice those they loved?

Or Ellicott City? Or Woodbine? Or Simpsonville?

At the Howard County Courthouse, photo: American Legion

I find holidays honoring military service and sacrifice deeply troubling because I find war deeply troubling. I’m grateful to all who are serving and who have served to protect our country. I mourn those who gave their lives. But I shrink from the type of glorification of military service which is expressed in jingoistic celebrations. 

While we should never forget those who gave their lives their sacrifice should make us ever more committed to finding better solutions to our conflicts than to ask for more of the same. It should never be an easy response. It should be the last resort.

One last thing:

In my internet travels this morning I found this carefully assembled database of Howard County Marylanders who died in service during World War II. Its creator, Russ Pickett, has a message for all readers.

Today we as a nation remember what they did for us all. Today I will be thinking about what we must do to make a better world worthy of the memory of their gift.

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