Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Stonehenge (I)

stonehenge

A few photos from Stonehenge, way out in the east end of the Columbia Gorge near the Maryhill Museum. I took these way back in June, right around the summer solstice, so I was kind of expecting there'd be hippies or something. No luck with that, just a few random yokels and obese tourists.

This Stonehenge was built as a World War I memorial. I'd heard that all the time, but I never understood the connection until recently. Sam Hill, the guy who built the thing, was a Quaker and a pacifist. At the time, some archaeologists claimed the original Stonehenge had been a place of human sacrifice, so Hill created this replica to point out that "humanity is still being sacrificed to the god of war." Fair enough, except that the archaeologists were wrong. D'oh! Still, the guy's heart was in the right place... I think. On the "sacrificial altar" there's a plaque which reads:

"To the memory of the soldiers and sailors of Klickitat County who gave their lives in defense of their country ... in the hope that others inspired by the example of their valor and their heroism may share in that love of liberty and burn with that fire of patriotism which death alone can quench."


Yikes! That doesn't sound very pacifistic, if you ask me, unless it's meant in the Stephen Colbert sense. And I tend to doubt that. The rural Northwesterners of 1931 weren't known for their subtle sense of irony. So I imagine the plaque was either a misfire, or it was someone else's idea.

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