Peter Jackson's They Shall Not Grow Old is a stunning act of remembrance

Everyone raised in my hometown learned to recite In Flanders Fields in school. Every year, as November 11th, Remembrance Day, drew near, we were taught about the First World War. We made poppies. We prepared for a concert to honor our veterans. Elderly men with often vacant, watery eyes would visit our classrooms and talk to us about their time overseas. Sometimes they cried. Other times, they laughed as they talked about long absent friends and their lost youth. As I grew older, I marched in my town's annual Remembrance Day parade: first as an cadet and later in a different uniform. Each year as we gathered at the armory after the parade had ended, there were fewer survivors of the First and Second World War there to greet us. Decades have passed since those days. The men and women who served their fellows and the future generations that would become of them have largely passed on.

No matter where I am in the world, I take pause on November 11th, as many others do, to remember those that gave up their lives in the name of democracy and decency. I try to hold the millions that died from hate, xenophobia and greed. I give thanks that I am now too old and too broken to fight. I fear for those in uniform today that will see things that will never leave them and for those who deployed who will never come home.Amidst these meditations, I wonder over who will carry the torch of remembrance of wars and atrocities past, once those who survived them are no more. Read the rest

Columbus, Ohio isn't down with Columbus Day

It's Columbus Day: a holiday slapped together to celebrate a raping, murdering, plunder-horny opportunist that's been dead for hundreds of years. Columbus, Ohio? It was named after the gold loving bastard. Despite this, for the first time since the city's founding in 1812, Columbus Day won't be celebrated there. Instead, the city's government has opted to throw the days off that are typically allotted to the holiday at something far more important: honoring the United States' veterans.

From AP News:

Ohio’s capital city, population 860,000, will be open for business Monday after observing Columbus Day probably “for as long as it had been in existence,” said Robin Davis, a spokeswoman for Democratic Mayor Andrew Ginther. City offices will close instead on Veterans Day, which falls on Nov. 12 this year.

“We have a number of veterans who work for the city, and there are so many here in Columbus,” Davis said. “We thought it was important to honor them with that day off.” And, she said, the city doesn’t have the budget to give its 8,500 employees both days off, she said.

The way that city of Columbus gave the shaft to Columbus Day is absolutely genius. According to the AP, instead of having a public vote over whether or not the city should abolish the observation of the holiday--something that has, in other locales, drawn protests, and a whack of political moaning--they opted to announce, late last week, that they were shifting the city's stock of holiday hours from the contentious holiday to be used on Veteran's Day in November. Read the rest