“We have faith that future generations will know here, in the middle of the twentieth century, there came a time when men of good will found a way to unite, and produce, and fight to destroy the forces of ignorance, and intolerance, and slavery, and war.”
FDR’s words are inscribed in stone at the WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana are a testament to the hard-fought ideals represented by World War II, its battles, and its victories.
To speak of it in commemoration, these battles all seem as American victories, each hammering into the public psyche the ideals that America’s foundations are built upon, ones that can still be told, “lest we forget”.
This is the story of “The Greatest Generation”, FDR’s “men of good”, a straight arrow to the heart of evil that begged for defeat, for the sake of not only American future, but of the world’s.
But this is not a single story.
Not because you want to or because of some fitness expert advice but because it triggers a pavlovian instinct in you.
Something that was drilled down into you at basic training. The smell of fresh cut grass, the early morning rising, the strenuous effort, brings back your youth and vigor.
Exercise by itself has many health benefits but that’s not the focus. Rather the early morning riser combined with physical exercise ends up being more than what Benjamin Franklin said:
“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man, healthy happy and wise”
In the north of bustling island of Manhattan, tucked away in a quiet park, overlooking the Hudson river is a small medieval wonder.
Inside the Cloisters financed by the scion of the financier John D. Rockefeller and filled with treasures of stone, glass, gold and paper lays the effigy of an unnamed knight of the family of d’Aluye.
Around 1258 in the French Loire valley, carved in limestone, he was placed in the Cistercian abbey by those he loved to rest.
The warrior is seen with a shield, chain mail shirt and strangely a sheathed sword as his fingers are locked instead in eternal prayer.
The knight belonged to three generations of d’Aluye men, who had fought to win the Holy Lands for Europeans. In the process of living, fighting and dying, he like many warriors had sought to redeem his soul.
As strange as it is to reflect on his life in a digital age (where what clicks is what counts), the Knight is a reminder of eternal principles from an ancient world.
Matters of who you are, what you lived and died for, were of such great importance that they were memorialized into stone, and immediately recognized by others who would transported the effigy across an ocean onto to a hill.
There he is tucked away in a cloister and eulogized by new generation of strangers that are reminded of the shared fate awaiting all men.