Never the twain shall meet?
I just finished reading Patriotic Grace by Peggy Noonan.
Who knew I’d find similar quotes, opinions and themes to what Studs Terkel wrote in his memoir?
Noonan: Part of what I’m saying has been said, better, by Bruce Cole, the head of the National Endowment for the Humanities, in a speech at New York University in the summer of 2002. He warned of “American amnesia,” noted a study of students at 55 elite universities that found over a third couldn’t identify the U.S. Constitution as establishing the division of powers in our government; 40 percent couldn’t place the American Civil War in the correct half century; and two-thirds didn’t know what the word “Reconstruction” referred to. “Citizens kept ignorant of their history are robbed of the richness of their heritage. . . . A nation that does not know why it exists, or what it stands for, cannot be expected to long endure. . . . We cannot expect that a nation which has lost its memory will keep its vision.”
Terkel: Memory. How can we have memory if we don’t have any knowledge? If we have no history, no memory of what happened yesterday, let alone what happened fifty years ago? . . . What happens to all Alzheimer’s sufferers is tragic. What I’m talking about is what I call a national Alzheimer’s — a whole country has lost its memory. When there’s no yesterday, a national memory becomes more and more removed from what it once was, and forgets what it once wanted to be. We’re sinking under our national Alzheimer’s disease. With Alzheimer’s you forget what you did yesterday. With Alzheimer’s finally, you forget not only what you did, but also who you are. In many respects, we have forgotten who we are.