In these contentious political days, when rioters have toppled historical monuments in cities all across America, it is imperative to say a word about history.
As individuals, we bring our baggage to the understanding of the world and its history. That includes our memories, education, losses, gains, grief, joy, faith, philosophy, and yes, our knee-jerk reactions. Our age is also a player. Those who lived through wars or catastrophes will view things much differently than those wrapped in cotton wool, who have never suffered a loss.
Those who have lost loved ones to wars or catastrophes will also view things differently than those who have never personally experienced loss. I was at work on 9/11 when one of my colleagues came into my office and told me that America was under attack. I went down the hall and watched as the news unfolded. Later, I started hearing the stories of how the events of that day impacted friends and family.
- A friend’s father escorted out of the tower before his rescuer went back into the building.
- A friend who had to walk across one of the bridges to Manhattan to get home
- A nephew in New York who tried to donate blood but couldn’t because they were so overwhelmed with donors
- My boss, who was in Pennsylvania on business and might have been on one of the flights, but had made other plans at the last minute. The picture below is of the plane wreckage in PA.
Not long after, I left work to pick up our only daughter from school and take her home. Our family needed to be together.
Thinking about this in our present politically charged days when rioters are pulling down statues, and defacing monuments, reminds me that we dare not attempt to erase history. Whether good, bad, or flawed, history is something we need to remember and learn the lessons it can teach.