Whether or not William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon wrote or did not write the works attributed to him—as some claim—does not in my mind cast a shadow of a doubt that “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark or HAMLET for short, dates between 1599 & 1602 and is a masterpiece of betrayal—a blog for another day.
Today is about the phrase from Hamlet “…to be or not to be” that we the people persist saying to this day. Yet how or when the words “is the question” were added to the phrase I cannot say. Perhaps the answer is in the play itself or in our need to find answers for questions that are unanswerable.
As in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, life and death is still in the balance of how we humankind are to be or not to be. Our energy is intensifying and we look to Mother Earth who looks back and asks us: to be or not to be? Generations of those who built a solid steadiness we counted on weep at our breakdown. Malevolent and Noble continually cross swords to assure a win and the people cry out: to be or not to be. Children, being children, sense the MIGHT of the swords and reach for a sanctuary. The Statue of Liberty—a gift to America from the people of France—stands in bewilderment at her role to be or not to be.
The older word Musingmeans thought or reflection or deliberation and broadcasts to the world…TO BE OR NOT TO BE IS THE QUESTION!
It—Album 359th Infantry 90th Division—dedicates its 264 picture pages to the men who won the war: The Doughboys of World War II.
It reads in part: “When the blood, sweat and dirt of war are but a remembrance, who will recollect the little things that GI Joe did to make war just ‘a memory?’ We will in the pictures taken by GI Joe himself on the battlefields of war. The pictures illustrate things as they were at the time we helped make history.”
THE picture words in my great uncle’s copy of this album lay dormant; well until now. Major General Herbert Earnest is the first picture then Brigadier General Tully then Colonel Bell and the Doughboys. There are pictures of training camps, submarines, couriers and assault boats as they leave their mother ships.
THE picture words of shifting sands and clutching wire; rubble; twisted metal; country folk; nameless faces and places; gliders; battle wounded; infantry; prisoners; grotesque death; crumbling buildings; front lines; wooden crosses; mortars; desolation; booby traps; Czechs & Yanks; bomb craters; The Brenner Pass, and The Town Hall in Munich.
Two-hundred and sixty-four pictures of warfare that play out in our memory or on our televisions or our smart phones or computer games or coup d’états or politics or next door or in our home. Humankind Album #359: how many more are yet to come?