In his book The Greatest Generation Speaks, former NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw wrote of sharing with a friend stories about those who had struggled through World War II. The friend spoke a truth many of us would rather not have repeated in polite company:
You hear something like that and you’re resolved to keep it in your mind forever, but twenty minutes later you’re wondering what’s for lunch.
Memorial Day weekend in the United States is now past—dare I say long past, given the pace of today’s news cycle. It’s Wednesday, after all. If you don’t heat those leftover burgers up in the microwave soon, you’re just going to have to stuff them down the disposal, and then all that money spent for what, right? Might as well have picked up a couple of Whoppers and been done with it.
I have to say: I’m not so critical of us civilians for our ease in moving on from the stories of War. Believe me: no combat veterans actually want others to hold the memories they hold, no matter how angry at the world those veterans might be.
I’m more critical that we civilians are mostly unwilling to move even within ten feet of those stories in the first place, sit with them for more than the hour-long special on CNN, Fox, MSNBC, or whatever other station we pause upon between Netflix binges. Perhaps if we were more willing to do that, all of us could get to lunch more quickly.
Perhaps, even, enjoy it.