Thursday, March 11, 2010

Collect the stories...

This is a foray into down-home advocacy that will not always characterize these posts, but there was an article in today's Oregonian that merits a mention: 60 years later, surviving WASPs are honored. Six Oregon women were among 200 surviving female WWII pilots to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their dedication and courage in the face of difficulties extending far beyond the conditions of the war itself. Give it a read to learn more about what they experienced, the amazing things they accomplished--and the attitudes they took with them into situations that would have us running for a lawyer today.

Reading about these remarkable women led me to think again about the women (and men) in my own past who have lived through Depression and war, nuclear fears and social change. I had a great-aunt in the auxiliary forces. She's gone now. It won't be long before the rest of them are. Talk to your family; talk to your friends. Talk to the elderly person in the house or apartment next door. Individual memory is colored by experience, and nobody's word is gospel. Collected and woven into the tapestry of human memory, however, these are the stories that make our history. The greatest respect we can give to our forebears is to make sure we know these stories before they're gone.

1 comment:

nwrowergirl said...

I'm a little late, but...

Well said, Laura. We've had some conversations at work lately about this - about the fact that people's memories usually aren't totally accurate and sometimes not very accurate at all - but that if they have chosen to remember their own past in a positive light they tend to live longer, healthier lives. Or maybe it's that the long, healthy life encouraged them to think positively about their past...