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Archive for August 19th, 2013

Sometimes it’s exhausting trying to establish who was right, or at what point someone was starting to be wrong.  Without checking history books [and typically checking several, preferably from different publishers] even establishing what happened in a well-publicized event can be tricky.

RememberTheMaineNCThe ship, USS Maine, exploded and sank.  The circumstances were such that some combination of patriotism and opportunism transformed the event into a catalyst for the Spanish-American War, laid the groundwork for Domino Theory, and any number of sword-shaking calamities.  What do I remember from High School US History? What can I see now that was missing from those books, meant for a Northern audience, and taught by a skeptical Italian?

Or maybe the truth is different again from all of the stories in official print.  I don’t know how many of these plaques there were [although I suspect there was one created for every extant US state of the time period], and I don’t know what it meant for a conquered region of the South to mourn this loss so soon after the end of the Civil War.

“Soon” means so many different things, as does the phrase “…too soon?” we use these days to mark a tasteless joke made at the expense of still-injured parties.  30 years ago for me, vs 30 years past for them, vs…..

[Now I’ve got music from the show Tintypes in my head — one song ends with the Teddy Roosevelt character shouting “Remember the Maine!”, although the song I love best is “Fifty-Fifty”, with Lynne Thigpen‘s strong alto anchoring the harmony]

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