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"Shorts, Outtakes and Rants"
Most weeks I write a column for my paper; occasionally my daughter writes one. Usually they're focused at local issues, but every now and then I come up with one that I think Spearfish Lake Tales readers would find interesting, so I post them on the Spearfish Lake Tales Message Board. Since I've been neglecting "Shorts, Outtakes and Rants" recently, I decided to repost a few of them here, like this one. I hope you enjoy it! -- Wes
May 11, 2015
I spend a fair amout of time following the national news, mostly on the Internet, and then mostly because I can pick and choose which stories interest me, rather than hearing more useless stuff about the Karadashians, which doesn't strike me as news at all.
At least catching news on the Internet allows me to avoid some of the more obnoxious television commercials, although the popups and addons in the Internet are getting to be just about as irritating and useless.
But I digress.
Several times in the past few days I've been impressed about things that haven't made the news, or if they have, they're barely been mentioned.
For example, last Thursday, April 30, was the 70th anniversary of Hitler's death, one of the important landmarks of the twentieth century. I saw a grand total of one story on the subject.
I did see a couple of very brief mentions of April 12 being the anniversary of FDR's death, but that was about it.
The only lesson I can draw out of that is that neither Hitler nor Roosevelt mean much of anything to most people, especially those in the news media.
April 15 was the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of Lincoln's death. Barely a mention on the news. I did see a little more coverage of the anniversary of Lee's surrender at Appomatox Court House, but only because I know a Civil War re-enactor who was there and had to report on the interesting time he had.
Yeah, but that was the Civil War, a hundred and fifty years ago, so who cares?
How about a more recent landmark date: April 12, 1955, sixty years ago, when Dr. Jonas Salk announced that field trials of the polio vaccine were a huge success? I'm just barely old enough to remember it. You have to be at least as old as I am to remember the annual fear that came when polio season arrived -- but not a mention of the commemoration of this event did I see in the news. Yet, those of us in those days learned an important lesson, one that appears to have disappeared from the common sense of people today.
It's all in the past, and I guess that means in this so-called modern day and age the past doesn't mean much of anything any more. Philosopher George Santayana is remembered for saying, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." He is right, but there aren't many people who remember who Santayana was. He was in the past, after all, so therefore irrelevant.
I guess I'm just being crabby and in a bad mood. We are all results of what happened in the past, and we wouldn't be here if the past had not happened.
I for one think that knowledge and respect of where we came from and what happened in the past are important. Granted, things are changing, and what was important to us or to our ancestors, sixty or seventy or a hundred and fifty years ago may not have a great deal of relevance to us today. But still, there is some relevance, some lessons learned by our ancestors that we would do well to take to heart.
Now, all that said, May 8 -- Friday -- is the seventieth anniversary of V-E Day, the day World War II ended in Europe. Naturally, I've seen very little news coverage of this story except for some minor stories out of Europe, where the story probably had more impact than in the US in 1945, where we used to celebrate VJ Day on August 16 -- not that we do any more. After all, it's in the past, and not relevant to people in the modern world.
Or is it?