Endings

It's The Big Solar Eclipse Day! It was sunny here but now the clouds are coming in. In Minnesota, we'll have only an 80% eclipse. It feels a lot like the Isle of Iona in Scotland during the short days of December.  

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And today, I've been thinking a lot about endings. Especially as I wind up this second revision on my story before I hand it off to a beta reader.  I've also been thinking about endings in the sense of history. 

 

How do we choose which memories, which people to lift up in reverence?  

Two questions that are important to ask, according to Josh Marshall of TalkingPointsMemo.com

  1. What is the person known for?
  2. How did they earn a place in our collective public remembrance?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

A German pastor theologian, Bonhoeffer moved away from Germany in disagreement with Hitler's use of the Christian churches for his propaganda. Bonhoeffer moved back to Germany in 1939.

What is Bonhoeffer known for?

He was an anti-Nazi dissident and a key founding member of the Confessing Church movement. He wrote The Cost of Discipleship and put his life on the line for his beliefs in Jesus by vocally expressing his opposition to the persecution of Jewish people.  He became involved in the conspiracy to overthrow Hitler. Arrested in 1943, he was transferred from prison to a concentration camp. He was executed on 9 April 1945. 

Robert E. Lee

Son of Revolutionary War hero--Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee, Robert E. Lee graduated in 1829 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In April 1861, President Abraham Lincoln offered Lee the command of Federal Forces. Which Lee declined. 

What is Lee known for?  

When Virginia seceded from the U.S on April 17, 1861, Lee resigned from the U.S. Army and accepted a general's commission in the Confederate Army. He served as military advisor for Jefferson Davis, the Confederate President. He later led the Army of North Virginia and in 1865 was appointed by Davis as General-in-Chief of all Confederate forces. Lee surrendered two months later and the Civil War ended. After his parole, Lee became president of Washington College (now known as Washington and Lee) in Virginia until his death in 1870.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865), the Reconstruction (1865-1877), or the Jim Crow laws (segregation and disenfranchisement laws against people of color), you can read Josh Marshall's article, Some Thoughts on Public Memory or National Trust for Historic Preservation's article, Statement on Confederate Memorials: Confronting Difficult History.