The Keepers of Knowledge
Downtown New Orleans, painted in battleship grey and sitting on the edge of the French Quarter, sits the National World War II museum. The structures are modern yet meld into the background of the ancient and sordid histories of one of America’s most eclectic cities as if part of the landscape. As a tribute to one of bloodiest of modern wars, there is likely not a better location. A city defined by seedy histories, violence and clash of cultures, the World War II museum fits into this backdrop reminding us that war is not an anomaly but part of who we are as people.
War is a function of the human experience. Come to it with false intentions and it will shred you to your soul. There is no mercy in war, nor should there be. Fighting... killing... is not about nation states, or politics or religion. It’s about survival. You fight for the person next to you; not for a flag, or some thin promise of ideology. The fight is personal. The objective is survival. The goal is to come home alive, no matter what it takes. The museum reminds us of that, with every step you take deeper into its labyrinth of stories, images and artifacts.
In ancient times, the keepers of this knowledge were the Bards. A class of poets, they were tasked with the responsibility to capture the stories of war, the deeds of the warriors and the iconic tales of culture to pass on as oral histories for future generations. They were revered and hated, a cast aside group of storytellers whose role preserved and shaped the foundations of how people saw themselves and defined the times they were part of.
Heroics have been replaced by keyboard warriors who threaten, chest thump or live out their fantasies through first person shooter games. Bravery has been replaced by cowardice; courage by anonymity. Our culture has lost the root of values that gave strength to righteousness. Yet there still remains a class of Warriors… a class Bards; we just fail to recognize them.
To all of those that have fought the fight and ask for nothing more… they are the poets of war. They are the keepers of knowledge that so few listen to, that too many silently envy or try to often ignore. The warriors of today are few. Their experience rich. The commitment to a purpose greater than themselves part of a selfless services to values. Their stories untold.
On this memorial day it is they that are to be commended. And on this day that tribute will now be enshrined… with the announcement of the first in a series of films dedicated to them.