Monday, May 26, 2008

Memoral*, etc. (for Memorial)

Memorial Day is a time to remember and honor our veterans. We should also remember the fact that many soldiers are profoundly anti-war. Wilfred Owen, who was born in England in 1893, is perhaps the best-known poet who ever lived—and tragically died—with his own excruciating, inextinguishable memories of war. His poetry vividly conveys the idea that war is immoral as well as immemorial. A database search produced seven results for Memoral*, two for Memmorial*, and one for Mmorial*. This might also be a good time to remind you that Momento (for memento) is a very common misspelling (putting aside the Spanish word for a "moment"). OhioLINK returned five hits on Momento* + Memento*. The word refers not to a fleeting moment in time, but rather to a way of remembering something. As Wilfred Owen memorably wrote in one of his oft-quoted poems about World War I:

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori

Carol Reid

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