Looking for inspiration for today's post, I stumbled upon a "history meme" on Tumblr:
It's probably a sign of my advanced age that I don't quite understand what I'm supposed to do here. Make history-themed photocompositions inspired by those words, I guess? That's what the creator is doing with it. That's not something I'm interested in doing, but I think that's OK, because she says she'd like to see different takes on it. So on days I don't have any better idea of what to post, I'll work my way through the list.
So, first up is war. Having pop culture on the brain, that naturally makes me want to say, "what is it good for?" That's kind of aggravating, because I wouldn't say that's one of my favorite songs by any stretch of the imagination. But maybe that's fitting, because neither I would say that war is one of my favorite historical subjects. Living in northern Virginia was kind of wasted on me; sure, there are tons of Civil War sites, but I never had that much interest. I mean, I visited some of the battlefields and if I saw a historical marker I'd stop and read it, because I just can't pass things like that up. And I made a point of reading about Mosby's Rangers, who operated in Loudoun County, where I lived, but that was more due to an interest in local history in general than an interest in Civil War history. And I think it's significant that my favorite era of American history -- the Jacksonian era, spanning roughly 1820-50 -- is one which, though not free of wars, is not defined by it.
That said, it's not like I have any particular objection to military history. I just read a book about World War II, after all. But given the choice between reading a war history or a history of most anything else, I'll almost always go with the latter. Just the way I'm wired, I guess.