Homogenizing history dangerously dilutes lessons of the past

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Each year, our nation sets aside days in remembrance of events we deem important to remember as Americans.

As a society.

As people.

We do this to ensure we will always remember the individuals, moments and historic events that helped shape our nation and the world around us — whether it be to celebrate when we got things right or to learn from the lessons of getting it wrong. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Pearl Harbor Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, July Fourth — taking time to remember these days and other days like them assures that we never forget who we are and, more importantly, how we got here.

To deliver a speech on Memorial Day without mentioning the ultimate sacrifice paid by our veterans would be the first step in diluting the memory of the terrible cost of war and those who paid the price.  Continue reading

The danger of forgetting our ‘Date of Infamy’

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imageI was nine years old the last time our nation fired a shot while openly declaring war with another nation. And while we have certainly spent the majority of the last few decades fighting abroad and sacrificing the lives of our young men and women in places like Kuwait, Qatar, Baghdad and Syria, the horrific attacks of Sept. 11 are the closest that many of my generation have come to experiencing war first-hand.

As a child, I was only peripherally aware of the Vietnam War and even less so of the Korean War, which ended before I was born. Yet, as the last shot was being fired in Vietnam, I already knew what Pearl Harbor was.

I knew how, on Dec. 7, 1941, a quiet Sunday morning was transformed into a fiery nightmare by Japanese planes that claimed the lives of more than 2,400 servicemen.

I knew about the USS Arizona, and how in less than nine minutes more than 1,000 men became entombed in the wreckage that now rests like a shadow below the harbor’s surface.

I also knew it was a morning filled with as many acts of heroism and sacrifice as there were moments of the horrific. Over the years, images in text books, commemorative issues from publications like Time magazine and stories captured in movies impressed upon me the virtues of valor.  Continue reading

It’s time once again for… The Door

Yes, this is our actual newsroom door.

Yes, this is our actual newsroom door.

Welcome to another exciting edition of The Door, where we highlight newspaper clippings that have been taped to our newsroom door by reporters since the time of Star Wars B.C. (early 1970s). Over the decades, these clippings have continued to inspire, “serving as a beacon, drawing us into the jagged rocks of journalism.”

No one actually said that; I just felt quote marks added more drama.

Anyway, today’s clipping comes all the way from Sept. 14, 1988, when then Oregon Attorney General Dave Frohnmayer was beginning his own war on drugs. Dave got a lot of press in those days, as this article in the Register-Guard can attest. It also attests to the importance of word placement in a headline, especially when using things like colons — which Activia yogurt eater Jamie Lee Curtis can tell you. But that’s another story. This morning, we’re talking about a poorly written headline that made it appear as though Oregon’s leader of the war on drugs was dipping into his own stash. Continue reading

A man’s guide to romantic cuisine—Step one: Insert beer into chicken cavity

cavemen-food-nutrition copy Men, by their very nature, are grillers of food. This is because grilling, aside from providing men with a legitimate excuse to drink beer and play with fire, is actually a sign of romance and affection dating back to the discovery of fire itself. We know this thanks to recently discovered cave paintings depicting what archeologists believe is a romantic meal prepared by a Neanderthal named Glork soon after the discovery of fire. According to archeologists, the sequence goes like this:

Painting one: Glork makes a small fire using a careful mixture of embers, dry leaves, and an assortment of twigs. He then douses it with liberal amounts of highly flammable liquid, creating a massive fireball that scorches the roof of his cave.

Painting two: Glork adds a marinated pterodactyl drumstick to the fire and begins drinking an unidentified beverage.

Paintings three through six: Glork continues drinking a lot more of his unidentified beverage.

Painting seven: Attempting to capture the attention of an attractive cavewoman, Glork uses the flaps of his animal skin to fan the aroma of dinner in her direction. In the process, he inadvertently exposes himself, leading to the creation of what archeologists believe is the very first “Kiss the Chef” apron. Continue reading