On Public Square, Thinking Of LeBron James

In Cleveland today, passing the majestic Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Public Square, it was hard not to think of . . . LeBron James.  Boy, the people in Cleveland seem to be walking with a spring in their step on this bright, sunny day!  Their hometown hero left them, in a very public, very classless way, and they have happily been rooting against him ever since.  So when the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat last night, denying LeBron James the NBA championship that he took his talents to South Beach to grasp, the people in Cleveland celebrated.

For one day, at least, the colossal spire of the Cleveland Soldiers and Sailors Monument seemingly was transformed from another Midwestern monument to the sacrifices made during the Civil War into a monumental middle finger to LeBron James, his conceit, his ego, and his lack of basic Midwestern decency.  The good folks of Cleveland aren’t shy about their feelings in this regard.  “Hey, LeBron!” they seem to be saying.  “You want to treat us like crap?  We are only to happy to reciprocate!”

LeBron is still a young man.  Maybe this whole exercise will teach him a valuable lesson in humility.

In The Midwest, The Civil War Is Never Very Far Away

The recent commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the attack on Fort Sumter and the start of the Civil War brought that horrible conflict back into the consciousness of many Americans.  In many of the cities and towns of the Midwest, however, the reminders of the Civil War are ever-present.

I was in Indianapolis recently, and the gigantic Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument at the heart of Monument Circle is a good example.  Although the monument recognizes the contributions of soldiers and sailors from many conflicts beginning with the Revolutionary War, the portion of the monument that deals with the Civil War is the most memorable.  The devastating statistics of Indiana’s contribution to the Civil War effort, noting the hundreds of thousands who served and tens of thousands who died, are set forth in simple, precisely carved numbers on the facade.  The statistics appear under the heading “War For The Union.”

As one Hoosier mentioned to me on my visit, it is no accident that the numbers appear on the side of the monument facing due south.