Reading Blog 5

How hard it is to preserve the national heritage and the material of folklife. No matter what success it achieved in the past, the Olympia is still facing the problem of oblivion. After reading the Save the Olympia! Olympia: Veterans and the Preservation of Dewey’s Flagship in Twentieth-Century Philadelphia, I began to think about the real meaning of preservation. It is not only to keep the objects in a good situation physically, but to cherish the story and the spirit behind the material. The first time when I went to the harbor and saw Olympia, the impression of this first glance was simple and ordinary, that It is a big and old ship and I know nothing about it. So, for the audience who have no idea about the details of an object, the material owns no value at all. But as we sailed on the river to get a close look at it last week, this vessel seemed to remind us of the great sense of history. It became part of the natural and social landscapes with its glorious past and silent present, waiting for someone to come and notice its beauty.

The experience of Olympia is so amazing that I just regret to learn it late. I think people in America may have the deeper feeling than me because it is a symbol of America patriotic heritage. But the bias to treat the preservation of Olympia as some problems of race and equity is really confused me. Maybe the son of a Chinese American veteran Lou was perfect for this job to break this bias and give the preservation a new meaning. So, the value of Olympia changes as time goes on. At the beginning, it represented the high shipbuilding technology which gain the economic and political importance of Pacific Northwest. Then the power extended to the America supremacy in the Manila War. Also, the returning of Unknown body represented the commemorative meaning. And during the struggle of preservation, the Olympia is much different from the past. It is a kind of identity of Americans to remember who they are and where they will be.

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