Tuesday, June 7, 2016

So We Was Talkin' And...: Wading Into the Memorial Fountain Debate

Craig and George generally chat every day about something. Usually they're funny little bits that fly off into tangents that probably no one could actually follow. We thought, wouldn't it be cool if people got a glimpse behind the insanity that runs Niagara's Watercooler. So, we decided that we would test it out. It just so happened that this week's chat was a tad more serious than our normal chats. Stay tuned. These things may pop up occasionally. And they more likely than not will be something that's completely irreverent, and definitely full of tangents.

CRAIG: So, George, last night I ran across this post about people wading in the reflecting pool at the World War II Memorial un Washington, DC. There was a clear sign that prohibited such action, yet adults had their children and themselves in the water. These are the people who should have known better. Now, I've been to DC and I know how hot it gets there. I've never waded in the waters at any of the memorials.

Courtesy usmclife.com
GEORGE: Why anyone would think it is appropriate to wade around in a memorial fountain is beyond me. Once again, this is parents not teaching their children respect. It is almost like the sacrifice of the people those fountains were meant to represent are a joke.
This is why I agree with people who get angry about the way some of the people treat Memorial Day
How about some respect for the people who died protecting the rights of ignorant people to be ignorant?

CRAIG: I've been down to the Mall a dozen or so times. I've never seen anyone wading through any of the reflecting pools there. I think one time I saw a pregnant woman sitting in front of the Lincoln Memorial with just her feet in the water. It seems like respect for others is rapidly eroding. We all seem to be fixated in our own little universes where we're each the center of attention. Forget about anyone else who may be around us.

GEORGE: I think that is evident (not to get political) in this most recent presidential campaign. The idea of doing what is right for the country has gone out the window. People have no respect for others anymore. It is all about what offends the individual and what the individual can get out of it.

CRAIG: Honestly wouldn't you consider it a desecration to the memorial as well as to people who died during that war?
Looking at some of the photos, I'm sickened, and more than a little angry. There's a woman -- a grown adult -- standing in the fountain, laughing for the camera. Directly in front of her is a sign that says, "Honor Our Veterans. No Wading. Coins Damage Fountain."

GEORGE: Well that is what I am saying. And if people don't think this lack of respect is real, then I will remind them that two young people completely destroyed a memorial bench in the city of Lockport last year just for kicks.
Like I said, disrespect breeds disrespect. It is happening all over.

CRAIG: One of the sites has a poll on whether this was wrong. Of course, I took it, and then looked at the breakdown. 89% of respondents said, yes, it was wrong. Then it's broken down by age of the respondents. The age group 24-34 was, by far, the group who had the least amount of issue with it. DOUBLE any other age group.

GEORGE: I rail all the time against the younger generations and I get shouted down for being a miserable old man. I am a miserable old man, but I am still extremely lucid and I can see the destruction of our country through the destruction of the younger generations. It is sad really.

CRAIG: Even the younger groups, teenagers and younger 20-somethings were against it.

GEORGE: In my research in writing some of the stuff I write, I found an interesting fact. People ages 20 and younger prefer to clip coupons from the newspaper and read newspaper ads as opposed to using online coupons or banner ads. I wonder if that means that the 24-34 group is having a disconnect with reality because they were the first generation to get overwhelmed with technology, but now the younger generations are getting it under control?

CRAIG: Now I just read an opinion that says: "Not so fast. We could argue that this is exactly what our soldiers risk their lives for. In a less free country, that park ranger might be putting bullets into the heads of waders. We should all be proud to see Americans of all lands of origin sloppily frolicking in the Fountain of Freedom."

GEORGE: Nah...
It is about respect. There are plenty of other places to frollick.
One should not frolic in a solemn memorial
I just spelled frolic two different ways
One is wrong

CRAIG: I think, too, that we should remember that this happened in 2015. I'm not sure if 2016 had any illegal waders. However, there was a rash of desecration at war memorials across the country, even during the Memorial Day weekend. At least three states had issues with desecration. Doing it is bad enough, but on Memorial Day weekend? Do people even know the day is about?

GEORGE: No they don't. It is amazing to me that people will read the memes with the wildly inaccurate information and repost those memes, but they ignore the memes that remind them of important stuff like Memorial Day is for remembering our soldiers who gave their all.
But to me this is all part of one big issue - respect. No one in this country respects the country anymore. Kids walking on and burning the flag in public. Rioting and destroying cities with smiles on their faces.
No one teaches the new generations respect and this is what happens.
You know why?
Everyone gets a trophy...that is why.
I said when I first heard about everyone getting a trophy that it would ruin this country and I stand by it.

CRAIG: There's a fine line in play here. What constitutes free speech, and what is blatant ignorance? In my view, and it's only my opinion, free speech is a right that should be used responsibly. You shouldn't go off all willy-nilly, causing riots and then try to fall back on "it's my free speech, man."

GEORGE: I always thought that everyone had rights until those rights infringed on the rights of others. Last I knew, causing a riot infringes on the rights of others.

CRAIG: Here's a quote from Tim Krepp who is a tour guide:  "Wading in the World War II memorial is emphatically not allowed. Solemnity is the officially preferred emotion. But the memorial's buoyant design inherently invokes liveliness, and strict rules violate the spirit of the war against fascism."
He's saying it's quite okay to wade. This is a guy who works there.

GEORGE: I have to disagree with him. This is what drives me nuts about people. Respect is respect. That memorial was built for the men and women who lost their lives defending our country. Like I said earlier, there are plenty of places to splash around and fight fascism. The Eternal Flame always makes me want to roast marshmallows on it, but that does not mean it is right.

CRAIG: I don't know. Maybe it's because my dad is a veteran, but I get the whole respect thing. It seems like common sense would tell you it's wrong to go wading in the waters of a memorial like that, especially when there are signs every 25 feet.
It's not an easy answer. There never really is. Maybe some of our readers could chime in to let us know where they stand on this. No name calling,  though.

GEORGE: To me respect is respect. Well ,... I gotta go take a leak at the base of the flag at Roy B. Kelley. I will talk to you later.

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