As cities go it's fairly small, almost a single mile square, sitting on the banks of the Hudson opposite Manhattan. My train station is there and this evening there was a traffic screw up. I missed my intended train by four minutes. I was not pleased about the thought on an hour's wait for the next one.
What had once been a rough, port city has gentrified over the last twenty years. About half the town is now a bedroom to the City, typically filled with post college, maybe coupled, but before children and the house with a lawn in the suburbs. Adjacent to the train station, the city has filled the space between two obsolete piers and made the whole into a rather nice park. I decide to wander over and sit in the breeze.
It was busy, as you might think at 7:00 PM on a spring's evening, a good mix of what you might expect - some children, some dogs, a fountain, joggers, and just a few that wanted a place to curl and read a book.
There were also two memorials.
The first was for those from the city that had died in the Vietnam war. There were seven names and the PC phrase, "and also those that died from war related causes after returning home." That said a lot if you think about it.
The other was more recent. There were fifty six names etched on four thick glass slabs, listing those from the city that had died on a single beautiful morning turned hellish a year and a half ago. On an adjacent structure, there were pictures of twenty five of them with a brief biography, sealed from the weather in a laminate.
All had been born in the seventies or the sixties.
The human mind is a marvelous thing. It is self healing and we get past the bad stuff by simply not remembering the details. But some things should be remembered. Fifty six of "the best and the brightest" from a community of one square mile.
....and of course this but one of many, many, communities. Somehow, the perspective changes when there's a name and face and details.
We do need to remember, and in particular, we do need to remember when the question arises, "Why must we.........."