Saturday, November 5, 2011

"These fragments are not where they were born to be."

My post title is from the Esquire article.  Here's an excerpt.  Hoping you'll be curious enough to go read the whole thing.

Those are the remains that ended up in landfills. They ended up in landfills because back in 2003, the gore-numb folks at Dover must have stood in their mortuary, with so many bodies all around them, and made a callous, officious decision. When they did their DNA tests on every finger and ear and eyelid spread out on the metal tables before them, and when their computers told them that this finger or ear or eyelid once belonged to a man or woman already sent home and whose family didn't want to have someone knock at their door with another little bag of Joey or Matt or Laura in his hands, that those parts needed to be cremated and made to vanish. It was just another part of the process.
Since 2008, those same parts have still been cremated, but they've been buried at sea rather than at a landfill. This is better. It is better, if only symbolically, if only to relieve one of the thousands of burdens borne by the bereaved.
But it doesn't really change the very terrible facts. Whether they're in a landfill or at the bottom of the ocean, these fragments are not where they were born to be. The ocean is just a prettier idea. It might be a deeper place to bury our horrors, but that doesn't make them any less real. All of this has happened. No one can go to Dover and feel as though everything is right in the world. No one can go into that building and come out feeling whole.

"These fragments are not where they were born to be." 

Ya think?


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