( my traditional article on the anniversary of June 22 1941)
Glory is destroyed only by dishonor
A Turkish Saying
The judgment of the fallen is as strong
As that of living, let thus stay until
My final day comes, in my worthy soul
The thunder of those cannons celebrating
Great Victory and Glorifying Farewell
A. Tvardovski, 1948
It dawns on me that I had been writing these traditional articles for at least 6 years or so with not that many comments. I think that one of the reasons for lack thereof is the general consideration that the topic is irrelevant to the current events. It is 21st Century after all; nuclear era, aerial bombardments, drones, climate changes, atrocities and shocks and awes" WWII is now something which happened so long ago. Ok, we all recognize the Jews and their suffering, we adopted them into out framework of the "overwhelming love', we have the State of Israel for which we pay and we have all those Holocaust museums; what else do you want? Who cares about who won that war? We here in the US and Western civilization once and for all consider that wars are bad anyway. As such in that war we reluctantly had to engage our German brethren gone awry, reluctantly had to bomb their cities to oblivion, reluctantly but firmly had to show our Japanese competitors (that's the word- MS) that we could annihilate two of their cities in one second and then we got the GI Bill for it which helped us build a middle class, the cornerstone of our current existence. So we won, OK? If you, Mark Sashine somehow disagree with that, we here in this free country can tolerate your opinion but it is only an opinion and as such I love you, you love me- let's go have a beer and forget about all those things. There are people in this country who know better, all those historians and 99% of them in unison proclaim that we won that war because we were the best, the freest and the most democratic people. Our German brothers are now our friends and that is how it is supposed to be. Eat your checkers, Mr. Sashine.
How about I follow this route and write something as follows:
(it is actually a part of my real opinion, sorry- MS)
".. It is unbelievable that right now, in the 21st Century we still have all those US Southerners whining about the "Northern Invasion' of 1861. It had been defined, lock, stock and barrel by numerous authoritative historians that the Southern rebellion was the doomed one- it was against the times. It was against the free market, the competition (in that case free trade of cotton), against the associated necessity of the dynamic and reasonably educated workforce ( slavery was not just immoral; it was outdated), that the pig- headedness of the Southern leadership was not only the cause of the war but also the cause of the defeat, that usage of the Constitutional framework to instill the slavery cause as Southerners did, buried them alive and that the only people to blame for the devastation of the South are Jefferson Davis and his cronies. Lincoln and his people maybe were not that gentlemanly but they surely were smarter, more educated, more patriotic and just better as people than the folks in Richmond and yes, the Colorado miners and Irish conscripts were better people than Georgia aristocrats and Texas rowdy cowboys. Sorry, folks, eat your checkers and lower your stupid Confederate pieces of cloth- you only have to blame your ancestors for what happened"'
How about them apples? Anything wrong in my diatribe above?
Didn't I mention that the above is only a part of my real opinion? So what is it? The whole opinion of mine is based on the perception that we take from history not ashes, but fire ( a statement attributed to Jean Jourice, the French socialist, killed in 1918 for his pacifism). Such grandiose event as the US Civil War cannot be assessed with chromium blood- narrative. If you want to touch that fire you should be prepared to be burned. Burn your hand and you will see the light; the gallantry of Texas and the MA colored Volunteers storming Fort Wagner, the Pickett's charge and the feat of colonel Chamberlain, the Merrimac fight and the Monitor fate, the Bull Run shame and the Gettysburg resolve, the faces of Robert Lee and Ulysses Grant, the sorrow of Lincoln and the ruthlessness of Judas Benjamin- all that deadly symphony of war which gave birth to the new, powerful and qualitatively different state. The cannonade of the war was the prelude for the roar of the railways. New was replacing old but also embracing the best of it; the courage, the gallantry, the stubbornness and power of the Southern gentry had become a part of all the nation and in 1960s during the Civil liberties' events the black South emerged with the same qualities their white predecessors exhibited in 1860s. That's the proper way to see that- through honorable honesty. Is that too much to ask?
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