Thursday, April 13, 2006

An Era, Amended

So, here we have two AP/Yahoo headlines, the first on the main Yahoo page, the second on the same article but "inside" on the story itself. I was troubled by this headline but wonder if it's simply my unhappiness with the passing of the time and the man, or whether there really is something wrong here.

Vietnam-era peace activist Coffin dies at 81

Former Chaplain William Sloane Coffin Dies

When I think of William Sloane Coffin, a towering figure from the late 1960s and 1970s, it tends to be in not-so-long ago terms. Yes, it was quite a while ago that people were burning draft cards and marching in the streets, and that Coffin was on trial for his actions and beliefs. But it would seem to me that his activity, his leadership in so many ways, transcends "the Vietnam era." He was a major figure in the civil rights and peace movement, period. He doesn't belong to just one "era." But perhaps this is what happens to each generation as it ages and its heroes, villains and celebrities fade from the headlines, only to reappear in death. I would have liked this first headline more, though, had it dropped the "era". I'll go back to rinsing out the gray now.

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