A lot of kids probably grow up hearing about life in a previous generation and how it all used to be. My version of that was a bit different. My parents grew up in the shadow of World War II. It wasn’t a historical event to them or abstract. My grandparents had lived through it and suffered as a result. One of my grandmothers went to do forced labor in Germany during World War II. My other grandmother lost her first husband in a concentration camp.
I often wondered what it was like to live just a normal life, to just be at the start of your life and to face what my grandparents faced. They were in their early to late 30s when World War II broke out. That’s the age I’m at now. What must it have been like to see the rise of Adolf Hitler and to see their countries get occupied. I can’t even imagine.
Last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, the United States saw a flash of what my grandparents experienced. The images of those men carrying those tiki torches from the Home Depot deeply angered me and made me think that long standing tensions have risen to the surface recently in the United States. Long simmering tensions.
A group of similarly minded people tried to stage a rally in Boston Common today. The police department gave them permits but also shut down the train stations around and told the food vendors to stay home. Oh and an angry mob assembled around Boston Common as counter protest, um 15,000 to be exact.
The rise of these groups troubles me and makes me feel like I’m living in some kind of a civil war. Is this where this country is going?
Some words spoken during a terrible tragedy came into my mind today. “This is our *&%#ing city,” a great philosopher named David Ortiz said after the marathon bombing. Boston may not be perfect, but leave your racism at the door. Nobody wants it here.
This is our *&%#ing city: