Thursday, August 28, 2008

Historical Postcards & the Battle of New Orleans

For every nation there are a handful of events each century that are so stunning and transformative that they become what I call “historical postcards”—big, bright pictures burned into the memories of an entire living generation.

One such postcard for my father’s generation was Pearl Harbor.  He was just a young boy when the bombs fell, and I remember him telling me that he heard the news on the radio and hid under his bed for fear that his New England city would be next. He never forgot that terrible feeling of fear and loss, nor did many members of his generation.

There have been, by my count, five historical postcards in my generation. I do not include the assassinations of Robert Kennedy, or the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster; these were big, important events, and I can still see the pictures in my mind.  But an historical postcard, at least by my definition, changes the world as we know it.