What exactly do we celebrate on Veterans Day? To be sure, we mean to honor the brave men and women, living and dead, who have fought America’s battles, past and present. But honor them how, and for what? About these matters, we lack a clear national answer.Read more
It’s the year for revisiting the Civil War, and also, alas, for “revisioning”—according to current sensibilities—how the war should be remembered. A recent casualty of the blogosphere skirmishes is the famous letter from Union major Sullivan Ballou to his wife Sarah, written a week before his death in the first battle of Bull Run. (The full text of the letter is available here.)Read more
American identity, character, and civic life are shaped by many things, but decisive among them are our national memories—of our long history, our triumphs and tragedies, our national aspirations and achievements. Crucial to the national memory are the words our forebears wrote, to show us who we are and what we might yet become. Robust citizenship is impossible without national attachment. National attachment is thin at best without national memory. And national memory depends on story, speech, and song.Read more
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