The Duty to Remember: Considering Prisoners of War and The Missing in Action (POW/MIA) as a Case Study in the Ethics of Memory
In his book “The Ethics of Memory”(Harvard 2004) philosopher Avishai Margalit argues that although we have a duty to remember others, the nature of those duties shifts depending on our specific relationship to “the other”. We have a duty to remember friends and family, but that duty is weaker and even non-existent if the other is a stranger. In today’s show, we use the issue of Prisoners of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) to reflect on Margalit’s theory and other moral questions connected to our duties to the Missing, to the dead, and to their families. The familiar POW/MIA flag (created during the Vietnam War) states “You are Not Forgotten,” betokening a moral duty to remember. September 18, 2020 was National POW/MIA Recognition Day and this show is the first in a series in which we engage in an extended discussion of Prisoners of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) and their families. Joining us is documentary filmmaker Keyvn Settle who has done extensive research on the POW/MIA issue and has recently made a moving film, Fruits of Peace, that includes the story of how the Vietnam War helped to shape our Duty to Remember.