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Respect for the dead



From Bratislava, Slovakia, Tom Grey writes: "There is widespread condolence for America and Americans in Central Europe, and universal condemnation of the fanatic crimes of the terrorists. In CA-IB / Bank Austria, s a 3 minutes of silence were observed at noon last Friday -- this was for all offices in Central and Eastern Europe. In Slovakia, on Friday night, many put candles in their windows. The candle vigils being held in America are different, and yet somehow similar, to the candle-vigils held in the Czech and Slovak republics in 1988-1989, the "start" of the Velvet Revolution.

Every year, in the weeks just before and after All Saints Eve (not quite Halloween), Slovak cemeteries are filled with candles and flowers. Very moving. Similar, in most respects, to those scenes CNN shows us of some of the American candle vigils. Respect for the dead is among the activities that makes us most human; and implies respect for the human worth, value, and dignity of other human beings".

My comment: Halloween, the day to honor the dead, is coming up, and I have long protested against the sacrilegious way it is celebrated here. I wrote a letter to the Stanford Daily requesting that the drunken, noisy celebrations at the Stanford Mausoleum be discontinued now that damage there has been repaired. A letter from a student ridiculed my request and invited me to share a keg of beer with him. He will have to drink it alone. I wonder if by Halloween, the World Trade Center tragedy will be history, and the carousing at the tomb will resume.

Ronald Hilton - 9/22/01


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