Thursday, 4 October 2007

The glorious dead (but are they grateful?)

It was only tonight passing by the massive monolith on the Westminster thoroughfare on the bus at a quarter to midnight that I was struck by the very Britishness of a monument to "The Glorious Dead". It's not that American dead aren't glorious, but they're definitely not celebrated in the same way. Perhaps in Washington, D.C., with a few austere monuments -- but that's a space that America allows to be dedicated to sentiment in a way that is segregated from the rest of the country. In England there are monuments to glorious dead soldiers in almost every village. Westminster is one thing, but even the tiny towns in Suffolk I visited last year have WW1 and/or WW2 memorials. The small church in Northamptonshire displays its list in a special book under glass. A winged angel guards the names of war casualties in spitting distance from the bank machine where I get cash for lunch on workdays. The glorious dead are everywhere. A far cry, I guess, from a country that won't allow video footage of soldiers' coffins or body bags.


At 10 April 2009 00:45 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever been in the US? Every town, city and village has a monument to it's dead warriors. Are they appreciated? Not sure. But last month a dead soldier returning from Afganistan in Auburn NY had the streets lined with people, flags, firetrucks, police..I saw this kids father looking out in grateful appreciation.

At 18 June 2009 20:16 , Anonymous sallochka said...

Have you asked about the same people of former USSR? Our dead soldiers are not all buried yet.This is 1st point. The 2nd one: do you think American soldiers have to be honoured? For what? What do they defend in Iraq, Afganistan,etc.? Maybe Russin soldiers in Georgia also have to be appreciated? At least Russians think so. Gandhi once told that there a lot of things he was ready to die for, but htere was nothing he was to kill for.


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