Nostalgia usually means a fond memory of good old times. The word is constructed from two Greek words, homecoming and pain. So it means a memory of old pain. Why old pain turns into our fond memory?
We will look at how the lyrics of a song about Spanish Civil War evolved over time. The following are two lyrics of Jarama Valley, a song about Spanish Civil War in 1930s. They were written by members of the British Battalion, who fought on the Republicans’ side, the losing side. The first was the early and painful one. The second is the later and nostalgic one.
There’s a valley in Spain called Jarama,
That's a place that we all know so well,
for 'tis there that we wasted our manhood,
And most of our old age as well.
From this valley they tell us we're leaving
But don't hasten to bid us adieu
For e'en though we make our departure
We'll be back in an hour or two
Oh, we're proud of our British Battalion,
And the marathon record it's made,
Please do us this one little favour
And take this last word to Brigade:
"You will never be happy with strangers,
They would not understand you as we,
So remember the Jarama Valley
And the old men who wait patiently".
Life in the battlefield is certainly painful. But overtime, painful experience morphed into a fond memory. Here is the later version.
There’s a Valley in Spain called Jarama,
It’s a place that we all know so well,
It is there that we gave of our manhood,
And so many of our brave comrades fell.
We are proud of the British Battalion,
And the stand for Madrid that they made,
For they fought like true sons of the soil.
As part of the Fifteenth Brigade.
With the rest of the international column,
In the stand for the freedom of Spain
We swore in the valley of Jarama
That fascism never will reign.
Now we’ve left that dark valley of sorrow
And its memories of regret,
So before we continue this reunion
Let us stand to our glorious dead.
When the dust of war settled, our concrete memory is war also faded. Instead, we take great pride that we put our lives at risk and fought bravely. We didn’t shirk from the responsibility in the name of freedom. The bonds we formed during the war time probably are the strongest. The war time experience, horrible it might be, is the high point in most people’s generally mundane life.
If we have a harsh youth, don’t despair. We will have a great nostalgia.