Thursday, March 12, 2015

Five New National Memorials

There are only 30 National Memorials in the United States, and while many are iconic (The Lincoln Memorial, The Vietnam Veterans Memorial), a great many you've probably never heard of. You may not know Chamizal, Arkansas Post, or Fort Caroline. Here are my suggestions for five more:

1.      Twin Towers National Memorial, New York City, New York

I suspect this will become a National Memorial fairly soon. 2,977 innocent people lost their lives on the morning of September 11, 2001. The two reflecting pools that stand in the footprints of the original tower should serve as a dedication.

2.      Galveston National Memorial, Galveston, Texas

We had to learn about this 1900 disaster in school, it was so important. It remains, with somewhere between 6,000 and 12,000 fatalities the worst natural disaster not only in the United States, but all of North America. Reports of 500 dead to McKinley were thought to be exaggerations at the time. The current memorial could be expanded.

3.      National AIDS Memorial Grove, San Francisco, California

The AIDs epidemic of the 70s and 80s claimed the lives of tens of thousands. The Federal Government moved far too slowly to respond to this disaster, and many innocent lives were lost while Americans died due to stigma. This grove, in Golden Gate Park, should be elevated to a nationally recognized memorial.

4.      Wounded Knee Native Peoples National Memorial, Wounded Knee, South Dakota

In 1973 two Native Americans were killed in the Wounded Knee Incident, the most recent fatalities of the United States government against the continent’s native peoples. Nearly a hundred year before, at the outset of the reservation era, over 200 were killed in the last official massacre of Native Americans. The site should serve as a memorial to the countless hundreds of thousands who died as a consequence of America’s policies. Some form of proper memorial should be created.

5.      National Slavery and Colonization Memorial, Historic Jamestowne, Virginia

More than half a million (estimates suggest approximately 597,000) black Africans were brought to the United States as slaves. Slavery cost many their lives, and is as tragic, really more so, than Vietnam, WWI, WWII, or Korea. Not to mention those untold thousands who did not survive the voyage. As such, Jamestown Virginia, where the first 19 slaves were on what would be American soil, would be the appropriate location, to memorialize the tragedy of slavery on the continent, as well as the continent's colonization. More emphasis on America's incipient slavery should be provided at the current site.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

#NaNoReMo 2015

The exceptional John Wiswell, of The Bathroom Monologues, came up with a great idea back in 2012 of National Novel Reading Month. During this month you read a novel that you've been meaning to get to. Something that's been sitting on the shelf for an awkward amount of time. Something you're supposed to have read.

So far for NaNoReMo I've read:

2012 - A Passage to India by E.M. Forester (I'd only recently gotten a hold of it, to be honest, but meant to get to it for a while.)
2013 - Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (On my shelf since 2008.)
2014 - Old Goriot by Honore Balzac (On my shelf since 2008.)

And now for 2015: The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo. (On my shelf since 2008.) This will, incidentally, complete my trilogy of books that I picked up in Natick, MA many years ago and never bothered reading. It will, like the past three NaNoReMos, also be my first work read by the author. I suppose I read a chapter of Les Miserables, once, but still...

So. If you're playing along, you have until March 31st to read your novel. Feel free to post your choices in the comments. I'm looking forward to what folks are finally tackling.

On a personal update: When it comes to reading, this year has been surprisingly slow so far; likely due to a focus for these first two months on movies . My cabin isn't well suited to reading, but some progress has been made, including Washington Irving, Rabindranath Tagore, and Anthony Powell. Also working on reading more science this year, last year having read far too little in that field. Currently reading Richard Feynman's Six Not-So-Easy Pieces, with Primo Levi on stand-by.