Sunday, May 30, 2010

How Long Before You Are Forgotten?

Not many of us will write the greatest novel, win the game, paint a masterpiece, or wind up in the history books. Like everyone else, we will have our time, raise another generation and perhaps make a mark, but soon will be forgotten.

If you follow your genealogy path, it doesn't take long before you look at names and know nothing about them. I can only go back one generation before the names, occupations, religious and political beliefs, kind deeds and mishaps are all lost. Dusty old photos only show strangers gathered at the beach or in front of a church.

But if we do well or give away a lot of money, a building may be named after you. Even that may be fleeting to be renamed or torn down for another building with another name.

Of course government records will have the place of birth, marriages, deaths and with today's social and global access, the locations of our lives and preferences are written for all to see, even if they don't care. Huge and ever expanding databases are filled with this information to be goggled, bu will any of it be remembered?

Interesting "Sunday Morning" just had a report about a family who puts flags on veteran's graves for Memorial Day. They check their database to find the location of the headstone, then say the name of the resident out loud, before pressing the small flag into the ground. The name is said out loud to show respect, but the kicker was the name probably had not been spoken in some time.

I wear with pride a silver identification bracelet around my right wrist. It is the navy ID bracelet given to me by an uncle. The inscription reads "C. D. McIver". The other side reads: "Ensign, U.S.N.A". This was my uncle's brother. This was the one brother that did not come home from World War II. This is the man I don't remember, but was named after.

So after all the flags have faded and the headstones sit alone, Clifford Davis McIver will be remembered everyday.

1 comment:

TripleG said...

When my brother Steve and I research information about ancestors, it's like we get to know these people we never met. I can clearly see some of their characteristics in people now living, in one case from photos and in another from a death certificate. If this documentation survives, they will too.
Others are only memories and stories which will vanish when we do. Whether you are credited in life's Playbill or not, the show goes on.