The recent popular film Sully was based on Capt. Sullenberger’s account of his ordeal, a memoir of the 2009 aircraft mishap known as the Miracle on the Hudson. His reason for writing it was truth. There was a threat that truth would be overcome by industrial propaganda. And, so his version has been preserved. This is only one good reason to write a memoir.
The stories told in oral tradition and memoirs were cultural adhesives long before the average person could read or write. Today we are fortunate to be able to capture our memoirs in various formats that can be preserved and interpreted easily. Various media can be used to preserve and protect the truth of our experiences and pass those truths along to the next generation. There is no need to be in a specific place at a specific time to absorb the memory, we can tune in from anywhere and at anytime. This ability is becoming ever more important as we are deluged with more data in the past 50 years than at any time in history. Yet, the raw data is ever less helpful to making decisions.
Family history just isn’t complete without describing meaningful occasions. Most of us use photo albums, but a memoir of the event preserves a highly personal description capturing elements that perhaps won’t be remembered by those thumbing through albums in future years. Despite “gratitude” expressed at every departure and arrival these days, not so many U.S. families service careers. We celebrated a young man beginning military service recently and this memoir is my attempt to capture the experience.
War memorials generally seek to honor and memorialize those who fought. War has a tremendous impact on both the population and the environment. It is the personal truth, often best expressed in artistic media, that truly honors those who fought or suffered in war. Artists and sculptors throughout history express themselves in hopes of communicating the effect of a particular war on the individual and the nation. Memorial Day is a good time to take a look at the array of art honoring those who fell in one of those wars, Vietnam. Viewing this art creates a deeper understanding of the war’s impact on the nation and those who survived. While the purpose of the war may be disputed, the artwork documents the era and honors those who answered the nation’s call.