Relics of The German Heritage

Imagine this….

You are vacationing in Bavaria, spending a day in the market town of Rosenheim some 20 kilometers from the Austrian border. After a breakfast of dark bread and sausages, you take a stroll to see some of the historic sites in the old town district when you stumble on the mid-19th century Rathaus. No Gothic gargoyles here, just a handsome three story beige brick façade. Hmm, nice you think, none of the usual menacing medieval architecture.

As you turn to continue your exploring, you notice a statue standing high on a massive pedestal facing the wide plaza in front the Rathaus. The morning sun puts the statue in silhouette, but you feel there is something familiar about the bulky frame of the honored figure guarding his hometown City Hall.

You walk around to the front and notice the figure’s long overcoat is actually a military uniform. And the hat! You can see now an eerily familiar insignia of an eagle, wings spread, perched over an iron globe. And there it is, inside the globe, the universal mark of evil, the Nazi swastika! You let out an involuntary gasp, embarrassed that a local citizen might take offense.

Who is this man in the towering bronze monument? Oh no! Now you remember that large beefy face and contemptuous scowl. This is a statue of Hermann Göring, Hitler’s right-hand man, Luftwaffe marshal, and architect of the London blitz. But how could there be a statue of this monster here in modern, democratic Germany?

Back at the hotel you go online and find that the Göring statue was erected in 1970, 25 years after the war. More searches turn up Nazi monuments scattered throughout the Federal Republic of Germany, some erected as recently as 2010.

You meet with your old friend Hans Schroeder who assures you that the WWII monuments have nothing to do with Nazism, but that they are important cultural landmarks celebrating German heritage. This inspires Hans into sentimental reminiscing over the many accomplishments of the great men who fought for the glory of the Third Reich. You are stunned. Hans always seemed like a reasonable, educated person, progressive in his politics with no hint of racism.air_force_commander-in-chief_command_reverse1

On the train heading to Munich you scan the news and find more of this “Back to the Future” style madness.

The top story reports that some students protesting Nazi memorials were demanding that a statue of Hitler be removed from the site of the Munich beer hall of Putsch fame. Other protesters in Dresden tore down the Saxony State flag flying over the capital building because of the inclusion of the Nazi swastika in the upper left corner of the banner.

A week later you board a Delta flight at Frankfurt, eager to leave this Never-never-land of Nazi nostalgia. You think of how comforting it’s going to be to return to the sanity and civility of your peaceful and truly democratic hometown, Atlanta, Georgia.

PRESERVING THE TRUE HERITAGE OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH

The controversy over Civil War symbols is focused on the “rebel flag”

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and statues of Confederate generals.

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Those who want to protect these symbols claim they represent the cultural heritage of the American South.

The fact is that the flag popularized today is only an abbreviated form of the official flag of the Confederate States of America.

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And none of the statues existed during the short, violent life of the CSA (February, 1861 — April, 1865).

In fact, most were erected from 1890 to as recent as 2010.

REAL SYMBOLS OF THE SOUTHERN HERITAGE

For those who want to preserve the true heritage of the Antebellum South, there are plenty of architectural monuments and artistic imagery to choose from.

The elegant homes of the plantation owners.

The adjacent hovels that housed their enslaved workers.

And of course, art works and monuments depicting the cruelties inherent in an economy based on slave labor.

Part of a statue at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, in Montgomery, Alabama, a new memorial to honor the thousands of people killed in racist lynchings. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Words. What are words?

Image: Donald Ian McCaw

Words. What are words?
Left alone they are leaves upon the waves,
drifting with no purpose, no course;
random scars on an unmarked grave,
showing no mourning, no remorse.

Words. What are words?
Recited, repeated, quoted from another,
they are runes of an alien tongue,
far from thoughts born of pain and wonder.

Words. What are words?
Spilled without thought, or
flung for power or pleasure,
words are weapons to lay foes asunder.

Words. What are words?
Inscribed on sheets of paper
or liquid crystal display,
their printed form claims power
only the erudite dare gainsay.

Words. What are words?
Without malice, artifice; but pure and pristine,
words are the elixir, the verbal grist,
the savior that can with one’s own breath
the most reticent soul redeem.

THESE ARE MY WORDS INSPIRED BY TOM FOOLERY’S “THE WORDS”.

 

MY CORONA READING LIST

Can'tHappenHere  514WczS9x2L

I started the corona months with Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here and moved on to The Last President.

I’m now about to dive into Camus’ La Peste. It’s been so long, I’ve forgotten a lot of it.

LaPesteCover

Inspired (or enraged) by current news events, I’m now thinking of ordering:

Julius CaesarCover     51sv650tzhL

A great classic worth re-reading and something to refresh my knowledge of American history.

Il Duce  101827

After seeing the corona devastation in Italy, so much like the war; and something to remind me of my German heritage.

Oswald's Tale

Finally, Norman Mailer, who I always admired but never got around to reading. Now’s my chance.