Thursday, May 5, 2011
Some projects could be the death of you...
Since January I've had dead people hanging around. Not that I don't normally, since history is usually about the dead, rather than the quick, but treading through old cemeteries brings that home in a more basic way.
Some, like William Luther, died in the prime of life for a cause that would be lost. "If to die for liberty be right, remember me, if wrong, forget me."
Others, like Archibald Hamilton, lived to a ripe old age, glorying in victory with their last breath.
Some were honored with monuments, as seen above. Others were not so lucky.
Each one lived, each one died, and each of them tug at me, asking to be remembered. I only wish that we could learn as much about the members of a small country church as we can about those buried in Westminster Abbey. Their importance to history's lumbering march onward is questionable, but their importance to the family and friends whom they loved was immeasurable.
The greatest lesson I've learned in my soon-to-be finished undergraduate career has been that history isn't just about the monument-bearers...it's also about the lives of quiet desperation, or unanswered hope. Ordinary people, with ordinary lives who change things in ordinary ways. Like the thoughts of a student, a century later, quietly treading through an old cemetery.