I have loved old things and history since I was a young girl being raised by my maternal grandparents. No one had to explain things to me or tell me why history should be appreciated, I just did. I would spend hours sitting on the floor looking through the saved issues of my grandparents’ subscription to The Good Old Days magazine. Through the years, going into an antique shop was just as fascinating and educational as going into a museum.
I fell in love with history.
History has been in the news and all over social media since the 2008 Presidential election campaign when, then, Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin misquoted history and her loyal followers attempted to change the history books so that Ms. Palin would be correct. In the last couple of years focus has turned southward and the desire of many to remove statues of Confederate Heroes as well as the Stars And Bars, the Confederate flag, from any place it is displayed, including private homes and property.
Recently I saw one such post that someone placed on their Facebook wall asking the question, “Should Confederate history stay in our country?” I began reading the comments. On this person’s post, all seemed to agree that it should remain. I pulled up the main post and found many relaying their disregard for this part of U.S. history and feeling it should be removed. I sob reading these comments.
Turning attention back to the original post I read, is where we find the reason for this blog article. One person commented that it should remain, but other points that we don’t like should be removed. I balked upon reading this. Perhaps the person meant that if we remove one thing we don’t like, we can thus remove other elements we do not like. However, her wording was such that she felt that part of our history should remain, but other parts should be erased.
Another person commented on this same thread attributing a quote to Winston Churchill which he actually borrowed and no one has volunteered to correct history. The quote, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it” was actually first stated by George Santayana.
A number of years ago, I added to Mr. Santayana’s quote when I stated, “Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it. Those who fail to learn history properly are just doomed.”
History is just that, history. We cannot go back and have a do-over. We cannot remove it. It happened. It’s over. It’s done. The best we can do is acknowledge it happened, learn from it and move forward with that knowledge. To erase any of it condemns everyone.
There is a question I desire to ask all those who feel we should remove part of our history from the history books. “You are a part of history. There are those who may not like you. Should we remove you from history?” Every person who has ever lived was and is significant. It does not matter if they were good or bad, a leader or a follower, an American or another nationality. Everything that happened over the course of time was meaningful whether it was a great world war or a simple family spat. There is nothing that has happened since the beginning of time that was so insignificant to our present day that it should be erased from history.
History books are filled with inaccuracies, even religious scriptures (including the Christian bible) are littered with erroneous information and misstated historical accounts. These things can be, but probably will never be, corrected. Erasing and eliminating historical accounts simply because we do not like them or their outcome, is wrong on every level of human existence.
Do not flatter yourself to think that removing one speck of history from the books will have a positive impact on society as a whole. No matter how ugly the history is, it must still be taught and learned. Never should we be so vain as to think parts of our past did not shape us and bring us to what we are today. Everything from before us has brought us to this place. We should respect that and honor it.
Erase history, erase you.