Tuesday, September 11, 2007

'Forsan et Haec Olim Meminisse Juvabit"

"Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit" -- so began former Virginia First Lady Roxane Gilmore as she reminisced about her old friend, Joe Bishop, at a life celebration in his honor at Jefferson Hall on the grounds of the University of Virginia on September 2. (That's Aeneas consoling his comrades on their journey from Troy, saying "Perhaps it will be a joy later to remember these things.")

That epigram served well as a theme for the memorial service, which was sponsored by local Republican party activists and hosted by the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, two institutions that were integral to Joe Bishop's life.

I captured most of the hour-long ceremony on video, in five segments.

The first segment includes an introduction by Albemarle GOP Chair Keith Drake, an invocation from former Charlottesville City Council member Rob Schilling, remarks by Jefferson Society president Assaf Sternberg, and a tribute by Charlottesville GOP Committee Chair Buddy Weber.

The second segment features separate comments by the former Virginia First Lady and by former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore.

The third segment is divided into two parts (to accommodate length restrictions on YouTube). In it, Susan Bishop offers her own recollections of her brother -- as a boy, a teenager, a college student, and an adult.

In this final segment, three clarinetists from the UVa Pep Band -- Joe played clarinet in the Pep Band during his college years -- lead the assembled friends and colleagues in a rendition of the "Good Ol' Song," and Keith Drake offers some closing remarks. (Believe me, the music sounded much better and less distorted in person than it does on tape.)

As Keith notes in his closing, Joe provided in his will that his large collection of books would be left to the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library to be sold in its major fundraising event, the annual library book sale. No doubt many treasures will be found during next June's sale.

Update: I have belatedly learned that "Haec Olim Meminisse Juvabit" is the motto of the Jefferson Society, hence its particular poignancy at the memorial service for Joe Bishop within the walls of Jefferson Hall. As explained in the Wikipedia entry for the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society:
The Greek letters of the Hall are Φ Π Θ - Phi Pi Theta - which are the initials of the Society's Greek motto: φιλοι, πατρις, θεος (philoi, patris, theos, or "friendship, fatherland, divinity"). After Phi Beta Kappa the Society is the second oldest continually existing Greek-lettered organization in the country. The Hall's Latin motto, taken from Book 1, line 203 of Virgil's Aeneid, is Haec olim meminisse iuvabit, roughly translated "In the future, it will be pleasing to remember these things."
My thanks to a Jefferson Society member and contemporary of Joe from their years together at UVa for pointing this out.

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