Respect Ba Boom Boom Boom

“Lollipop, lollipop, oh lolly, lolly, hey why did you turn that off?” Asher demanded as we entered the Marais des Cygnes Massacre Historical Site. “I turned it off because the sign reads to be respectful,” I told him. Like the Alamo, the Marais des Cygnes Massacre site is a place where people actually died. Unlike the Alamo, no one was there to make sure we respected the place where 11 men were lined up and shot, five of them to death. We were on our honor here. The problem we encountered, though, is that I am not 100 percent sure of the rules for being respectful at the monument to a historically significant murder.

My son and I debated over whether the Stand by Me sound track should be played since we were not going to get out of the car. (This historical site is set up so people can drive through it.) Because I drove the car, I won the argument, but Asher had a little trouble not humming as we drove along. This experience reminded me of a road trip we took a few years back during which we visited Lincoln’s tomb. A watchful volunteer made sure Asher removed his hat as we paid our respects. Since I come from the generation that wears shorts and flip flops to church, I hadn’t thought to ask him to remove it ahead of time. In my heart, though, I would never dream of disrespecting Abraham Lincoln, nor would I dream of disrespecting the men who gave their lives shortly before him at the Marais des Cygnes massacre.

As a 21st century mom, I realize there may be etiquette rules others operate under that I am not aware of. So I Googled cemetery etiquette because I believe the rules should share similarities with murder sites. Fred Hunter’s Funeral Home Web site suggests people who visit cemeteries not play loud music in their cars. (I win, Asher.) They also suggest visitors keep small children in check, not use profanity or speak loudly and follow the rules on any signs posted in the area. These suggestions make sense. Of course, the primary way people learn to treat historical sites and cemeteries with respect is by visiting them as children. So while I may have forgotten to ask Asher to remove his hat, I am exposing him to places and ideas that deserve our respect. We can figure out what respect looks like together.



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Posted by admin on Jul 20 2011. Filed under Beth Gulley, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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