No news story received more attention last week than Kate giving her husband William a son. Little George Alexander Louis is doing well as the family spends a few weeks with Kate’s parents and out of the limelight.
As the world focused on London; in Columbus objections by the Freedom from Religion Foundation to a new Holocaust memorial on State House grounds were the center of attention. The group objected Holocaust memorial because it features a Star of David in its design. According to the group, that star as a religious symbol has no place on government property.
This week many Americans were saddened to learn that the Lincoln Monument was vandalized with green paint.
It is coincidental that these three events occurred in the same week. The concurrence of events drives home an important lesson. Pride in our history offers security for the future. Learning lessons from the past protects the future.
Great Britain is no longer the world power that it was at the outset of the last century. Despite its smaller size, it maintains deserved pride in its heritage. The monarchy is a symbol of the country’s endurance, strength, and resilience. The birth of a new heir signals that the monarchy and country will continue to flourish uninterrupted.
Abraham Lincoln devoted his life to the continuity of the United States. As stressed in his second inaugural address, the nation was not to be torn asunder. Americans today are increasingly comfortable with the rainbow of skin colors among citizens, a reality with roots in the Lincoln years. To deface Lincoln is to deny the value of universal freedom, which Lincoln so steadfastly promoted. If the vandalism was an act of objection to the course of American history, and not just a stupid prank, it brings into question the integrity of the United States as a unified country and the degree to which American ideals color the thoughts of perpetrators. However, if the vandals object to American policy as it has been set since the sixteenth presidency, there are better ways to voice concern than to splash paint on a beautiful symbol of American patriotism and devotion to human rights.
As for the Holocaust memorial, it is difficult to fathom the objection to its placement on state grounds. Even if there were five million victims in addition to the Jewish victims of Hitler’s tyranny, as the objectors noted in their statement, it is that evil against the Jews which has been best documented and is best known. Some may view the shield of David as a religious symbol but to most Jews it is more a symbol of ethnicity than of religion. Indeed no religious significance whatsoever is attached to the six pointed star. For any group to object to memorializing the thwarted annihilation of an entire people is at best questionable. By remembering these Jewish victims, the Ohio government that hosts that statue on its grounds attests that such a calamity cannot be repeated on American soil, at least not in the good state of Ohio. This is not a religious message; it is a political one. To attack the statue on the grounds of the star in its center is to attack the Jews who already suffered more than sufficiently, and to replicate the anti-Semitism that the statue serves to repudiate.
Three events occurred last week, each related to an important aspect of the historical record. The symbols valued bode well for the future of the world.