The older I get, the more I’ve come to distrust the prevailing wisdom of the age. Not this or that age, but any age. Such wisdom, in my experience, has a consistently poor track record in the long sojourn of human history. Indeed, we are brilliant at being short-sighted.
Autumn is upon us. The Yankees up north (you know, those Ivy League eggheads who decide important stuff like dates and holidays and such) say Sunday marks the first day of fall, the beginning of the end of summer’s too long tyranny of the seasons. But down here in East Texas, we know better… don’t we?
The last days of Summer I believe are the worst. That’s when Summer fights for its life in heaving howls of crushing sultry days. Like a wounded boar snorting and stumbling — bleeding out of its side from the spears of our heat-fueled discontent — the season lumbers and crashes upon the earth with a rage so titanic that its feverish body still takes weeks to cool.
I am only 37 years old, yet old enough to have witnessed a number of military actions carried out by the United States against other nations — with Gulf Wars I, II, and our current operations in Afghanistan standing out from the pack. Actions in Libya (1986, 2011), Panama, and Grenada are in there too, but to a lesser degree in U.S. casualties/investment of resources.
Now we stand upon the precipice of possible action in Syria – an action I believe lacks sufficient justification at this point. That’s not to say that I believe there is not any justification, only that the case has not yet been made to the American people. That is a burden that typically falls upon our military’s commander-in-chief — in this case, President Barack Obama.
Ward was a survivor of the New London school explosion. She was on the bus waiting to go home when the explosion happened, and worked for years later in life to make sure the museum became a reality and the memory of her lost classmates would endure for years to come.
The founder, curator and manager of the museum for many years — including being its biggest cheerleader, marketer and supporter — Ward worked tirelessly to get artifacts, photos and interviews with other survivors for the museum, and all of that work has allowed the tiny restaurant, tea room and museum to keep thriving and to keep the memory of one of the worst disasters in the United States from being forgotten.
With her leadership, and the help of other volunteers on a board of directors, the museum grew from an idea and a dream to its current set up, which sits right across the street from the West Rusk campus and in direct view of the monolith placed there to commemorate the explosion.