Hello, all! This is Ash, Etta’s husband. Etta’s busy with meetings and other fun stuff today, so she asked me to write a blog post for today. I thought I’d say a little something about Memorial Day, as we’re all recovering from a long weekend filled with backyard barbeques, spending time with family and friends, and the sort of relaxation (or lack thereof…) we have to look forward to for the rest of the summer!
Memorial Day is a holiday dedicated to remembering the honored soldiers who fell in service to our great nation. It was first proclaimed as a day of remembrance and respect, unsurprisingly, only three years after the most trying test to the unity of these United States. I often find myself considering the trials that our forefathers lived through in every conflict since the Revolutionary War on Memorial Day, and the Civil War was foremost on my mind this year. As we begin the sesquicentennial recollection of the war that pitted brother against brother, I can’t help but ponder how we, the fortunate beneficiaries of a unified, free nation that has withstood such trial by fire, must honor those men and women who gave their lives to protect the ideals the Founding Fathers protected with their own lives and fortunes. Forgive me a moment on the soapbox, but… I believe that historic preservation is about much more than the physical preservation of aesthetically-pleasing architecture, or sustainability of communities, or whether wood windows are carefully rehabilitated, or replaced with vinyl or aluminum or what have you (please preserve your original wood windows if at all possible, folks!). Sometimes, historic preservation is about remembrance. Sometimes it’s about preserving the work of the hands of our forefathers so that the history of their lives can be known, the history of their trials and tribulations, the history of the people and places they loved, the history of what it means to be an American, regardless of whether you live in 1776, 1861 or 2011. Memorial Day is about remembering the honored dead. Historic preservation is about bringing the stories of the honored dead to life, so that we can live and learn from those men and women every day.
That being said, please take the opportunity to visit a historic site, National Park, National Battlefield, or any other place that makes you feel close to the history and people of our beautiful nation this summer. Take a moment to remember, and to wonder what it means to be an American, and to be proud of who we are. That’s historic preservation at its best.
Enjoy they shortened workweek, everyone!