Monday, November 22, 2004

Remembering the Dead

I just realized what day it is today: On November 22, 1963, C. S. Lewis died. It would perhaps have made international headlines had not another, more important death occurred the same day.

It really is interesting, if you think about it, how we tend to consider death-days important, like those of Lewis or Kennedy. Of course, there's a long religious tradition of remembering the deaths of martyrs and saints; but, strictly speaking, the tradition has always been that the death is remembered because it is their greater birthday: to die in this world is to be born in the next. We do, however, tend to remember death-days simply for their own sake, and to attribute to them some significance simply for being death-days. Part of our human tendency to ritualize things, I suppose.

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