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.”