Ignorance of U.S. history
Twenty years ago this time, I was on a bicycle tour of England and France with my two youngest sons, John, then 16 and Mark, then 21, and just graduated from UCLA. The morning of July 4th, bright and sunny, found us on the outskirts of Cambridge, England, with the laboratory in which the first atom was first spilt on our left and an American national cemetery on our right. The following is an excerpt from our travel journal for that day.
“Stopped at U.S. cemetery – mostly airmen from WWII; Superintendent Leland from Minn. had job since ’47, came back to states in ’54, not home, went back, had married British.”
“Workers really scrubbed crosses – Schmidt, Bodenhoff, Edulstrin, Claude Lanphere from Kansas – 3000 still there, represented 40% of Original. Beautiful chapel, grounds, everything.”
I read the responses to you inquiring photographer’s question, “What significance does the Fourth of July hold for you?” in your Sat., July 1, issue with concern.
Whether the interviewees were born here or recently arrived, their acquaintance with U.S history seemed negligible. I wish that I could walk with them through a U.S. National Cemetery as I did with my own sons those 20 years ago. I suspect that those persons queries by your inquiring photographer never will appreciate that some one unrelated had to die for them.