Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down

Ring Around The Rosy, a popular nursery rhyme, to many, signifies happy, playful memories. It is not until we really look into the depth of what this childhood song really meant, that we realize how devastating and gruesome the content is.

This nursery rhyme is actually believed to be signifying the Black Plague in Europe during the Middle Ages. Taking a close look at the lyrics, this becomes evident.

“Ring around the rosy.” pertaining to a red swollen ring around the infected victims eyes.

“A pocket full of posies.” describing the way the citizens would carry flowers in their pockets to cover the lingering smell of death in the towns.

“Ashes, Ashes. We all fall down” signifying the burning of infected bodies after death.

Now, call me crazy for wondering this, but why in the world are children singing this morbid song in preschool? In our society, especially in the United States, we seem to be so blind to what really goes on in the world. Many countries are struggling so heavily with life threatening viruses and disease, and we haven’t even heard a whisper about it. It seems that in our country, we feel that we don’t “need” to know about anything health related, unless it affects us. Take Ebola for example. Very few Americans even knew about this horrific disease, disregarding the slight reference to Margaret Chan having it in “The Lizzie McGuire Movie”, until it was brought into our country. Are we that selfish as a country that we think, “Doesn’t affect me, doesn’t matter”?

This is something that I believe we need to work on. Americans need to be better educated on the health risks and struggles of other nations, not just our own. If we are better educated, maybe this could lead to more discovery of ways to keep the viruses, or plagues, contained. Just because we are not infected by a fast-spreading disease, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be educated on it’s history.

This topic seems to relate back to the “Public Good”. Everyone wants to have a country with a low disease and contagion rate, but are we doing enough to achieve this? Sure it’s the role of doctors, the FDA, and WHO organizations, but honestly, it starts with us. We need to educate ourselves on different outbreaks occurring in the world. Just because the Zika Virus started in Brazil, doesn’t mean that we don’t need to worry about it, because as of now, it’s making it’s way into the U.S.. With travel being as prominent and easy as it is today, disease can spread from country-to-country within hours. If we are educated and prepared, we can save ourselves and many others, because in the end, we’d rather all stand up strong than “all fall down”.

-Jocelyn Scott



8 thoughts on “Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down

  1. I definitely agree that many American’s seem to be pretty out of touch with the rest of the world, in part I think it’s due to geographical circumstances, but it’s no excuse to be ignorant of the world around you. I also agree that the best thing we can do it educate people. If we are all more knowledgeable about certain topics, or even have a general understanding of the fundamentals, we are able to contribute much more positively to society.

    One thing that really bothers me is the thought you mentioned when you said if it, “doesn’t affect me, then it doesn’t matter.” This is kind of a scary thought, especially when pertaining to the greater good because we all happen to inhabit the same planet. I think people often forget that. We should all focus on being better citizens of the world.

    – Drew Sliger


  2. I enjoyed your post a lot. I do agree in the aspect that much of our society and country are out of tune with the goings on in the rest of our world. However, you even said yourself that if it doesn’t affect you, then it doesn’t matter. So aren’t you part of the group who does not stay in touch with the happenings of the rest of the world? I know this is slightly off topic, but i mean,it’s like how global warming is not just an American thing. ALL countries are doing something about it, but who even knows what the other countries are doing? No one because no one pays attention to anything but themselves, their state, their country, and what is affecting them. It is a very sad reality.


  3. I loved your post! I do agree that we do need to open our eyes to things in the world rather than singing a nursery rhyme about something we know nothing about. I liked how you touched on the “if it doesn’t affect me then it does not matter” because I do believe many people do think this. Instead of being apart of the problem and pushing the problems under the rug, we need to realize the many things that are going around us.
    -Alli Stamper


  4. I think we need to inform these kids, they do not know any better. I know I had no idea it had a deeper meaning all the way up until now. People do tend to act like if things don’t affect them then it doesn’t matter. But that needs to be changed, it applies to the texting and driving, because people don’t pay attention until they are actually harmed or a family member is. Great post.

    Trevor Ginn


  5. This is something I think about all of the time as an environmental studies student! That how Americans believe things are going in the world in comparison to what is really happening is almost insane. Disease for instance becomes almost a joke to Americans. People hear a friend is sick and joking say “Ebola” as if real people aren’t dying from this disease. Kind of like making a children’s song about the plague.

    The same is true with waste disposal. We flood developing countries with electronic waste and things that we can not handle to dispose of and we allow it to destroy their health and landscapes. Do we stop and think, “what are we doing?” Very rarely.

    We briefly talked about the Apple contractor Foxconn’s suicide rate and horrible working condition last week, but do we stop buying iPhones? Of course not.

    We as a country need to better educate ourselves on the public health effects that we have on the world and what that means to us.


  6. I really enjoyed your post! I agree that we need to be globally conscious about diseases and how they do and do not affect us. It all begins with us educating our peers and children in order to have a progressive movement. People overall need to become less selfish and realize how they can help prevent the spread of diseases and in other countries by volunteering or donating.

    Andrew Traicoff


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