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Published: October 14th 2003
The ride out of Remington started nicely, but soon the clouds overhead let go with a vengeance. After only a couple of miles I realized that my gore-tex jacket was in serious need of some revitalizing spray, because the rain quickly soaked through it. And my shoes, which had been soaked the night before, kept my feet sloshing about in a bath.
I stopped at a small Civil War battleground along the way and read the congregation of historical markers. According to some markers, it was the only battle in which Stonewall Jackson unsheathed his sword, while another marker claimed that Jackson's sword was rusted to the scabbard, and so he waved his sword about, scabbard and all...All along my route I've seen historical markers commemorating the battle of this and the war of that, memorializing the birthplace of this general and the resting place of that colonel. But I have yet to see a reminder of a new & improved water wheel, or the birthplace of a poet.
I think the plethora of military markers is indicative of our society's fixation with war and violence. In American culture, nothing is more valorous than a bold cavalry charge against overwhelming odds. We idealize our generals and admirals, and look to them for leadership. While we glorify those persons who dedicated their lives to the destruction of lives and property, how often do we remember the people who cherished life and sought to preserve it? Where are the historical markers remembering Harriet Tubman's work in the South? Where are the plaques commemorating scientists and writers?
After my brief stop, I continued on to Charlottesville, and my first presentation about the School of the Americas. For more info, see: http://www.soaw.org/new/ About twenty Friends gathered for a simple potluck meal, and afterwards I spoke about the SOA in the context of the Quaker Peace Testimony and the Bible. And while I don't expect a historical marker to be erected next to the meetinghouse to mark my passage, I hope that with my journey I might be able to inspire a few folks to become more active, and to live out their faith through their works.
Tomorrow it's onto Trevilians, VA and the Little Flower Catholic Worker.
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