Tracks In The Dust

A Father's Advice About Learning the Mission of Life

Archive for the tag “History”

Making History Disappear

When I was younger I was fortunate to have been taught the value of history. Its perspectives, its meaning, the reasons that things happened in the past and the way things got to where they are now. It is all part of the value of understanding history.

History Disappears

It’s great in our modern times that we have so many ways to learn about history. History channels on TV, history websites, documentary movies and books written about some of the most influential people and times in Earth’s past.

But also it seems today that we are more eager than ever to erase parts of history. By distorting it in those same places that supply it, and even more so by erasing its reference in the culture we live in. It is a delicate balance for sure. Our racial and political prejudices make for what seems valid reasons to just eradicate any current reference to those things deemed unacceptable now. As they may have seemed right in the past, today they may seem very biased, cruel or insensitive to how things are in the “now.”

But we are in the times of the “information age” where information is readily available at the push of a button. We have to be careful to understand that just because we have an abundance of information – doesn’t mean we have an abundance of “knowledge”.  Erasing the past entirely for the sake of the future would be most difficult, but erasing the memories of what those things are in the past can be very easy. In the course of that effort, the generations ahead will be unaware of what brought them to that point.

So my advice to my kids? 

Understand history and respect it. My father and my wife’s father both fought in World War 2. They are remembered by their children, but as my kids grow up and they have children they will have a different perspective. Even the veterans of the Vietnam era will only be a fact in the history data that will exist on the Internet or in books or movies. It may only seem like another fiction book or story to some of them

When history gets erased, it will open up the opportunity for it to be repeated. With no lessons learned, generations ahead will not understand the perspectives on which we got to where we are… they will go in and blindly misunderstand the reasons for things.

Erasing history and the references to things around is can be labeled as “progress” or “the correct thing to do” – and that is always going to happen. But it has accelerated because we live in the age where an abundance of information and opinion is shared with everyone.  So everyone’s opinion is supposed to count, but with regard to history- the basis for formulating those opinions are lost in history (or the lack of its understanding).


Turning Back to History

Often these days it seems many of us have been turning our backs on history.

The Ipswitch Milestone

The Ipswitch Milestone

Somehow it seems to me, that many of the people I know have turned their backs on history. I mean we all understand that there were many things that have happened before us. There are so many centuries before today, before this minute in modern history, and so many more thousands of years of ancient history, and before that the millions of years that make up time before it was recorded by man.

During even the most recent times, history is has influenced how things are shaped today. We don’t recognize it, but everything is linked to most everything before it.  As my kids get older, I fear they may not recognize or appreciate what came before. The importance of history seems to have  become lost for the most part. Other than a few movies about time travel, or an occasional documentaries or film stories that hover around history (much of it in some fictional account), I am not sure that they genuinely would know about much of history. That scares me some. History has meaning in our life, it is the essence of what we are and how we should look at the circumstances of today. .

Both of my children s grandfathers fought in World War 2.  They are not alive anymore to share what they had to do, and why they had to do it (they both weren’t always interested in sharing the horror of it). It would have been great for my children to hear what the fabric of their lives were made of.

During our lifetime there are history-making events happening… how will we recognize the important milestones among them in the future?   How would we see them linked to the past? – Or would anyone see the link at all?

So many significant things in history are at risk to be forgotten by most of us. Perhaps just remembered as some image on a webpage that will endlessly get lost in the mounds of URLs that make up the throw away websites on the world-wide web….

It is important that we pass on some of it if we can. Like those tribes of years ago, who spent time sharing and repeating the history of the people before them. We need to share it. To let our children know why things happened in history, and what it meant then and what it means now.

Related Posts.

From No Blog Intended.A great post about Blind Spots In History . It is inspirational that someone wants to pay attention and understand that there is so much more.

Memorial Day & The Beginning of Summer

US FlagWhen I was a kid this holiday weekend signified the beginning of summer.

Memorial Day ( in the US) is a day for all of us Americans to remember the fallen military that have made this country great and to honor those who are  living and dead, that fought in wars big and small for the freedom that every person should have.

It is also the time for some fond recollection of a time when school would be wrapping up for summer break, graduation time and celebration  for those who were done with school and ready to move on. It was a time of dreams and opportunity. The anticipation for the beginning of summer came with a lot of images.

There would be songs on the radio that would become anthems for that summer and forever trigger those memories for so many years to come. In my younger days we would sing along to the AM radio while cruising in the car (oh for gas to be that low priced again). It was the soundtrack for growing-up. The music of fun and romance.

There was also sun and fun at the water with friends, with towels and “sun-tan” lotion ( I still remember the smell of coco-nut). Just spending time under the sun for the entire day, with cold beer and Frisbees. Taking the long walk down the beaches to find driftwood (among the dried up fish and noisy gulls), and chilling on the shore with wet sand and water hitting at your toes.

As the summer progressed there was much to look forward to. The heart of the baseball season, the 4th of July parades, picnics and fireworks. Traveling up north to send time on in-land lakes fishing , running the boats and sitting by the night-fires. There was a lot of magical times.

Of course I remember them fondly, and yes— a bit more cloudy now I suppose. More of the good than the bad. More of the sounds and smells, of the times that were captured in the adolescent mind I guess. But they were great, and we all knew they wouldn’t last forever so  many of us embraced them as much as we could. We spent those lazy days stoking our dreams of fortune and fame ( I was in a rock band back then – imagining that big break that never came). Daring autumn to wait while we took in the moments of memories.

But all of that wouldn’t be possible without the fine men and women who have been part of the armed services during the entire history of the US.  Those dedicated people who ask so little and give so much. They allowed some of the rest of us to dream, to embrace the times of freedom and opportunity. Thanks to them, celebrating Memorial Day in America.


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