In an American Cemetery in France: Thoughts on Memorial Day

A gentle breeze slipped past the gravestones near me, rustling the slim folds of the American flag overhead, tapping the fasteners against the pole in a metallic rhythm. Aside from our low voices, the soft sounds of insects and birds, and the occasional passing car, it was the only sound to be heard. We were …

A Murky Heritage: the U.S. Army, the Civil War, and Memory

"I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar." - Julius Caesar Memory is an odd thing. It affects not only people, but whole societies and cultures. Take the memory of the U.S. …

Drawn to the Battlefield

So I'm driving right now,  heading up the road from the National Capital Region, and I see on my left the long lines of marching hills. Treetopped ranks stretching into the distance. The South Mountain Range. Home of so much of what I've studied in war, in history, and culture; and suddenly my heart seems …

Guest Post: a Current Officer’s Thoughts on Robert E. Lee

By Butters' Bars In the aftermath of the abhorrent racism and bigotry put on display in Charlottesville, Virginia three weeks ago, it is easy to lose sight of the root cause of this violent outburst. The question at the center of Charlottesville is whether or not General Robert E. Lee, most famous for his role …

Remembering Pain: 9/11 and Collective Memory

Edited September 11, 2016. We were fifteen. The colors in the trees reflected summer, not autumn, although the air held a fall crispness. We were at home, which for us who were homeschooled, meant we were at school. We wanted the work to be done so that we could run off to read, or play computer …

Remembering the Civil War: Or Forgetting It

April 9th marked the 150th anniversary of Robert E. Lee's surrender of his Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant’s combined Army of the Potomac and Army of the James.  This is fact that we can all agree on regarding the events at Appomattox Court House.  And that’s about it.  Southerners believe that Appomattox should …

Memory as an Engagement Area, and what memory tells us about ourselves

Last week on the Twittersphere, a discussion began on the impact of sensory perception on memory.  It was started with this tweet: https://twitter.com/CombatCavScout/status/564959464034668544 https://twitter.com/CombatCavScout/status/564960295001804800 https://twitter.com/CombatCavScout/status/564962272624525312 You can see the tweet he was referring to, and the subsequent discussion, by clicking on the link, but in short, it was a photo of a dead Taliban commander …

Location, Location, Location: How shared locations bond two generations of U.S. military veterans

When I was a shiny new soldier, fresh out of Army basic and advanced training, I was placed in the rear detachment of a unit that was forward deployed.  There were a few other brand new soldiers in the detachment, but quite of few of the soldiers were coming off of Active Duty into the …