Our eldest son capped a successful first year of college with a class trip to the seeming birthplace of democracy, Athens, Greece. As a student in Indiana University’s Civic Leaders program, it related sufficiently enough to “actual” study to make the expenditure worthwhile. In spite of a lurking suspicion that he’d found a loophole that provided an oh-so-perfect excuse for an island junket, his mother and I were impressed by the reading list and occasional photo from important historical sites. Certainly, there are other pictures of young adults being young adults – let’s call those historic sights – but, we are content that the time and money was well spent. In these days following the homecoming, references to the experience continue even as they point to a maturing perspective of global matters.
As luck and an understanding spouse would have it, I found myself enticed to participate in a program at a nearby Aegean pied-a-terre a few days antecedent to our son’s scheduled return to the U.S. The gap after the Memorial Day conference and my retrieving our progeny allowed for a short tour of the Peloponnesian isthmus. Populated since pre-history, our present understanding comes from Paul’s letters in the New Testament to the locals of Corinth, or perhaps to the Olympics foundations in Olympia, or maybe to the Hollywood film “300” and its spawn which follows the legendary tale of the Spartans.
With each vista more impressive than the last and with each ruin more awe-inspiring than another, one wonders what will remain of us in more than 3,000 years. Would city leaders be pleased in how they are memorialized? Are we destined to be remembered by empty tombs, ancient vandals and fragments of broken marble? If not a statue of stone, then can an idea, well-conceived, hope for immortality?