I went to a panel this morning on literature of the First World War (specifically, visual representations of broken, absent, and reconstructed bodies), and as the panel started we suddenly heard a drum corps warm up. A major Veteran’s Day parade was going by our downtown-Pittsburgh conference hotel . . . and continued to go by for a full hour. I was not the only one to be astonished by the irony of such an event: Veteran’s Day drums nearly drowning out scholars of history and literature who were attempting to discuss the interactions of nationalism, propaganda, patriotism, and violence during WWI. Our speakers occasionally stopped to say, “Wow. I mean, this is really something.”
I’ve had a great time at the conference, but by now I’m ready to come home. I heard a child in the hallway outside my door and it was all I could do to keep from stepping out to request a hug from said child. So, I’ll be heading back to KY tomorrow.