God, Country, and Declension Narratives
Kevin Levin at Civil War Memory asks: Do these young Boy Scouts know why these flags look different from all the other flags placed on the graves of soldiers on this Memorial Day?
Perhaps a good Memorial Day activity for everyone would be to look again at Charles Reagan Wilson's Baptized in Blood, followed by a brief review of David Blight's Race and Reunion. When these boys get a bit older, I'll put that on their reading list when they take my course. I bet they can hardly wait.
While you're at it, see "Declension Narratives in Civil War History" at the same blog, which references Tim Burke's discussion of declension narratives in general. I post here because religious historians, of all folks, should be familiar with declension narratives, right Perry Miller?
A very large number of the popular narratives of decline and fall that have circulated in American society for the last thirty years or so, for example, take conditions that were a brief, specific consequence of the post-WWII reorganization and affluence of American society and start to reframe them first as a general part of the entire 20th Century, then as something basic to American history all the way back to colonial settlement, and then leap the Atlantic and usually plow straight for the Aegean, coming to rest in Greece, Rome or Jerusalem.