On Remembering the Dead

A friend and I were out in Scoville Park this afternoon, sitting in the sun on the First World War memorial in the middle of the hill.  For a while we sat on the bronze plaques of the names themselves (eventually feeling this was probably not the most respectful thing we’ve ever done, and moving), then mused a while on memorials, on memory, and other topics somewhat ill-fitted to the first warm spring weekend of the year.

The Tribune’s headline for today was tragedy in a similar vein, not of a foreign war but of teen violence in our city, specifically in Chicago Public Schools.  In this century it seems no longer appropriate to erect granite obelisks and idealized bronze figures to the dead, but who’s to say what is?  “Honor rolls” of the fallen?  Makeshift shrines with plastic flowers and snapshots of childhood?  A running tally in the corner of CNN’s Headline ticker?

Number of Chicago P.S. students killed so far this school year:  22

Number of US soldiers lost in Iraq so far (confirmed):  4013

Number of Iraqi civilians lost so far (estimated):  82,682-90,207

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