Colleville-sur-Mer Diary: Sacred Ground

Sep 21 2014

The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori.
(It is sweet and right to die for your country.)
Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)

The Colleville-sur-Mer Cemetery in Normandy, located on the bluff just above Omaha Beach, doesn't exalt the glory of dying in war; the green grass, the white marble headstones and the infinite seascape serve only to gently honor Americans who gave their lives in the first step toward freeing Western Europe in the springtime of 1944. Some 9,387 men are buried here, and a memorial wall lists the names of 1,557 Americans missing in action. The grounds are movingly immaculate, though I might be particularly sensitive to green and white. These colors of life and purity sanctify men who fought with discipline and resourcefulness, and without complaint.

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A new visitors center at Colleville notes the trinity of Competence, Courage and Sacrifice that sustained the troops in combat there and on the neighboring beaches. America expected every man to do his duty, and it seems that no less than that occurred. The exhibits celebrate the quiet resolve and seriousness of purpose of the D-Day soldiers.

Addendum: World's most beautiful cemetery?

Addendum: Normandy has not forgotten the invasion. Even the windows of gas stations have signs saying "Welcome to our Liberators."


The Real Work of the College

Sep 20 2014

As loyal readers know, we are big fans of the Political Economy Project. A note to '18's: Enjoy PEP's honest-to-goodness intellectual experience. It's the kind of thing for which you came to Hanover.

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Addendum: In case you missed it -- I did -- PEP has a video that lays out the goals of the most interesting initiative to come along in Hanover in quite a while:

Addendum: PEP will also hold three weekly reading groups this fall each Monday evening from 7-8pm in Silsby or Rockefeller Hall. PEP's director Doug Irwin promises high level discussion regarding "thought-provoking books that often do not make it into the curriculum":

Free Market Fairness, by John Tomasi. In this recent book, a leading political philosopher attempts to reconcile "free markets" with traditional notions of "fairness." This group will be led by Professor Henry Clark.

The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey, by Michael Huemer. The title tells it all - it will explore whether the government has the "right" to coerce citizens in various contexts. This group will be led by Professor Jason Sorens.

Law's Order, by David Friedman. This book asks what economics has to do with law, how the law shapes economic behavior, and why it matters. This group will be led by Professor Douglas Irwin

Note: Each group is limited to no more than 15 students. To ensure a place and to get more information, please respond as soon as possible directly to the professor whose book interests you most. Applications will be considered in the order they are received. You may only participate in one reading group per term.

Pizza, drinks and significant amounts of challenging commentary will be served.


New Athletics Department Magazine

Sep 19 2014

The Athletics Department has a new digital magazine -- new to me, perhaps. Looks professional and informative. Have a peek.

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Athletics Director Harry Sheehy has been in town for four years now. He is making progress on all fronts. An Ivy League championship in football this year would signal that the College is back to its old standard as an Ivy power punching far above its weight.