February 2, 2013 8:49:43 PM
In the history of this great country there are battles of such epic importance that they are remembered for generations. Even after all the combatants have long since gone on to their reward, some names still resonate with Americans.
The Battle of Antietam was the first battle of the Civil War on northern soil, and considered the bloodiest day in American history. Pearl Harbor marked the entrance of the U.S. into World War II, and is still the last military attack on our country. The Battle of Bunker Hill (Breed's Hill) was important in the Revolutionary War. We didn't win that one, but the British learned a bit about the colonials' strength and resolve. (shareranks.com/)
Most people will fight for a cause, even a questionable one. George Armstrong Custer made his "last stand" at Little Big Horn. There, he tried to force Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne Indians off of land that these people considered sacred. Although the land had been granted to them by a treaty, the discovery of gold made the U.S. government change its mind. (americaslibrary.gov) Sadly, this battle did not end well for either side.
We all "remember the Alamo," where an overpowered bunch of Texans bravely fought for land that belonged to Mexico. (about.com) Once again, a tragic end resulting from a suspicious motive.
But we are truly a gung-ho nation. We love to take sides, even in unimportant battles. Today is the Super Bowl, a contest between two teams that will settle nothing. There will be no borders re-drawn, no land seized, no laws changed because of this. Of course, we can also hope that there will be no deaths, and very little bloodshed.
I am thrilled that this "battle" will take place in my first -- and favorite -- city, New Orleans. It is appropriate that an event of almost no consequence will be staged in a city where celebration is valued over practically everything else. New Orleans may have a huge murder rate (62.1 gun murders per 100,000 people (theatlanticcities.com/), but the party goes on. Have fun, have a drink. "Laugh about it, shout about it, when you've got to choose. Ev'ry way you look at it, you lose" ("Mrs. Robinson," Simon and Garfunkel).
The real competition is about bucks. The actual results are not about who wins the game. Both sides come out with huge profits and bragging rights. The Super Bowl is about advertising dollars, merchandise sales and each player's position in next year's negotiations. It is all so very meaningless. Does a big trophy change anything?
I wish we could get this excited about the pathetic state of Mississippi public education, or the way our tax dollars are spent by "autonomous" organizations like the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Our country, and our little triangle, have huge issues with hunger, homelessness and the lack of medical care for our fellow citizens. Yet, we get all worked up over a "game" that will not effect us in any positive way.
I actually have no idea which teams are playing this afternoon. If that is important to you, then I hope your favorite wins. But I also hope that after the screaming and overindulging of game-day snacks we can give some attention to really important matters. If we do this, then all those Americans who fought for real causes, in real battles, will not have died in vain.
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.
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