Literacy and Liberty


77 years
Posted by: , October 8, 2018, 3:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The memorial that I visited today was the World War II memorial in Old West. I stood for a few minutes and stared at this aging plaque on the wall, allowing my thoughts to roam.

“IN GRATEFUL RECOGNITION OF THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF DICKINSON WHO SERVED IN THE ARMED SERVICES OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR 1941-1945” it read.

Suddenly, I find myself propelled 77 years in the past. A daughter of Dickinson. I am standing in the same room. The stress of exams fades away. I am not thinking of any paper looming before me. I think of the names of the fallen that I come across daily. I think of the numbness that has begun to come with them. Around the world, people are fighting. An overwhelming amount of them are dying, too. In a few years, the names of my classmates who have lost their lives because of this dreadful, grotesque war will hang on this wall. I will always remember the times that I saw these people on campus. I will remember the laughs of the ones I knew well, recall their accomplishments and feats.

Back in 2018, the personalities of these names are stripped away. All they are now are words on this piece of metal that hundreds of us walk by daily, thinking nothing of it. We so often feel the stress of little things in life, but hardly ever take the time to imagine a time when those names were actually people.

But, I guess this is just simply the point of memorials. There’s more behind the metal, even 77 years later.




2 Comments so far
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Your story is super unique in the sense that you explore time traveling. I’m not a big science fiction fan but your writing style hooked me in for sure. When you speak of the names being stripped away, I found it very profound. You give voice and vision to people who lived, breathed and embodied characteristics that we all utilize everyday. To me, it sounds like you deeply think about a place that could be seen just as letters woven into words. However, you see it as a place that is more profound than that which is pretty cool.

   natasha 10.08.18 @ 5:38 pm

Jess, great post! Love the fictional transport back to the Second World War and to what a student on campus might have been feeling. Your post suggests the efficacy of this memorial by this very transport back, but then you note a limitation of the plaque, namely, that it doesn’t record or reanimate the personalities of those lost. Can you think of a way that a memorial could do that?

   Professor Seiler 10.08.18 @ 6:17 pm



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