Letters to the Editor

Letter: William who?

August 27, 2013


To the editor:

While Sunday’s editorial rightly congratulated everyone who was involved in the planning and implementation of events connected with the 150th anniversary of Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence, it referred to the “commemoration of a notable community anniversary” and hitting the perfect tone for “commemorating a pivotal day in Lawrence history.”

But precisely what was commemorated here? As the local media and city boosters kept on reminding us in the preceding months in headlines everywhere, it was to “commemorate the 150th anniversary of Quantrill’s Raid.” Not commemorate “those who perished in Quantrill’s Raid’ but the Raid itself. Heinous acts of murder and mayhem are not something to be “commemorated” or even celebrated, and this seems to be the message that has been promoted and perhaps ingrained in our collective psyche for 150 years!

When two inauspicious September 11 anniversaries arrive next month, is the nation going to “commemorate” the 2001 attacks on northeastern cities, and last year’s raid on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya? I don’t think so. As in the annual ceremonies that honor the memory of those who lost their lives on 9-11, the names of those who perished at the hands of William Quantrill and his thugs were remembered and recited at a special City Band performance on Aug. 18.

Instead of “commemorating the 150th anniversary of Quantrill’s Raid,” what Lawrence should instead have commemorated and promoted in headlines was something like the “150th anniversary of murder victims and the city’s ability to recover and rebuild.”

William who?


Benjamin Roberts 4 years, 6 months ago

It seems that the LTE is confusing the definitions of "commemorate" and "celebrate."

COMMEMORATE: 1 - to call to remembrance 2 - to mark by some ceremony or observation

CELEBRATE: 1 - to honor (as a holiday) especially by solemn ceremonies or by refraining from ordinary business 2 - to observe a notable occasion with festivities (http://www.merriam-webster.com/)

No one, except possibly the LTE and that one bar in Missouri (http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/town_talk/2013/aug/20/missouri-tiger-bar-plans-to-celebrate-an/), thought their was a celebration of the murders; but, rather, a remembrance or commemoration, of the fateful event.

Yet, LTE, you are correct that such an event should have sober and reflective moments.

Brandon Devlin 4 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for clarifying the logic that Mr. Wysocki obviously failed to grasp.

woodscolt 4 years, 6 months ago

How about "commemorate those Lawrence citizens" who were terrorized and murdered by Quantrill and his terrorists. I think your confusing the LTE's point.

patkindle 4 years, 6 months ago

another area news paper had an article about how quick we are to forgive and forget about pearl harbor and 9-11, but the Lawrence folks still cant give up on Quantrill. I guess it is a pc thing

woodscolt 4 years, 6 months ago

The maffia is commemorated with shows like the Godfather and more recently the Sopranos and Jesse James (who participated Quantrill's Raid) has been glorified as are many outlaws of the era. Easy, i guess, when your several years removed from the carnage and terror they inflicted.

tomatogrower 4 years, 6 months ago

All of the events that I attended seldom talked about Quantrill. They mostly talked of the people who died, or more importantly the fact that the survivors rebuilt the city and thrived, while karma caught up with Quantrill. It's unfortunate that it is called "Quantrill's Raid", but that's the name that history gave it, and it would probably be hard to change. I guess we could call it the Lawrence massacre, but I doubt if anyone could change it now.

smileydog 4 years, 6 months ago

I flipped through a huge 1000 pages or so book about the civil war and 1 paragraph of it referenced Quantrill

patkindle 4 years, 6 months ago

perhaps that shows you how insignificant Lawrence ks is to everywhere but Lawrence ks

kansanbygrace 4 years, 6 months ago

The writer might have forgotten the coup and assassination in Chile of elected President Allende on Sep 11, 1973. That's another terrorist attack that left the South American nation in the grasp of Pinochet, who murdered thousands. It has a US component, and in international discussions has a more prominent place than it does in the US press.

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