Thursday, June 16, 2011

Living history and headaches

We've got our collective fingers crossed here, hoping that it will stop raining long enough Friday evening to allow folks to enjoy an "Echoes from the Past" living history expo on the Lucas County Historical Society Museum campus, 123 N. 17th St. in Chariton.

Hours will be 5-7 p.m. and free hot dogs, chips, lemonade and cookies will be served. Admission is free. If interested in more details, go to the LCHS blog, which is located here.

I've kind of neglected that blog this spring, but it's now been updated and I've got a variety of material to add once the expo is over.

One of the major tasks at the museum this week has involved restoring the barn to public use. It's been used primarily for several months as a carpentry shop for the new blacksmith shop, now nearing completion. But several people have worked very hard this week to move lumber and equipment down to the new shop, rearrange other items and reopen the big main area of the barn.


Water continues to be a problem --- this morning's weather map is a patchwork of flood warnings in western, northwest, central and southeast Iowa --- although Lucas County is for the most part high and dry --- well not exactly dry, but at least the rivers and creeks aren't flooding.

As more water heads down the Missouri from South Dakota, little Hamburg way down in the southwest corner is waiting and hoping that a new levee completed yesterday will hold and spare the town major flooding. The federal levee along the Missouri that ordinarily protects it breached earlier in the week and water has been moving toward the town ever since.


I've taken lately to watching a variety of stuff during late evenings after deciding that working on this or that project into the night, as if dawn wouldn't come again, was interfering with sleep.

One, via MSNBC, has been accounts of a return trip to Vietnam by Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Army Col. Jack Jacobs (retired). Those accounts are located here for the time being.

The other, via PBS, was a Point of View (POV) presentation, "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers," and as sometimes happens I'm not exactly sure this still can be viewed online for free.

Jacobs was a hero of one sort, a 22-year-old infantry first-lietenant fighting on the ground; Ellsberg, a hero of another sort --- former U.S. Marine deeply involved in the war effort as a civilian who became disillusioned upon discovering the tissue of lies upon which the war was based and the lies still being told and eventually leaked the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times, congressmen and other media.

It's been an interesting juxtaposition --- almost guaranteed to produce a severe headache if you think about it. But I doubt we're thinking much these days about that old war that cost 58,000 U.S. lives and perhaps 2.5 million Vietnamese lives when military and civilian deaths are totaled with the toll exacted by the North Vietnamese among their enemies after the South fell.

Of course we've never thought much about the Vietnamese deaths --- they were, after all, of another color, another culture and for the most part not even Christian, scarcely worth considering.

Nor are we thinking much these days about our current wars and their cost. Wave a few flags when the latest fatality is flown home for burial from the battlefield and feel better about ourselves, then get on with our cultural wars or obsessions about the economy.

Is it possible that we bottomed out spiritually and morally during Vietnam, have never recovered but just haven't noticed? Or did bankruptcy come long before that? What does it all have to do with that hideous Christian God we've created? I'd think more about all of this, but already have a headache.

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