History why it is important

So I was thinking, have we gotten so busy racing to the future that we don’t consider the past?  This came to my mind when I was watching a show on PBS.  It was tribute by Prince Charles to his mother for her jubilee last year.  60 years of reign is quite amazing to me.  As an American I don’t truly understand the connection the British feel for the royal family or to the whole concept of monarchy in general.  As I watched this show and another on the landmarks of London, I came to understand that for the British people the Royal family as a source of stability and connection to their long history.  I wondered if as a society we lack that connection.  We seem ignorant of much of our history, despite studying in school.  I suppose most of us get the big picture of big events, but we don’t seem to care much, at least about anything before WWII.  We are a young country and perhaps that  is the problem.  Quite often young people don’t pay much attention to the stories of their elders.
So why is that a problem?  Well history has a lot to teach us.  Right now their is a raging debate about immigration.  I’m not here to take a stand on the issue or the current solution to the issue.   But I do wish people would remember that our history is one of  immigration, some of it legal some of it not, and some of it not regulated at all.  Unless you are Native American, you are a descendant of immigrants. My family is Irish and a few other nationalities.  My husband is 1/2 Irish 1/2 Puerto Rican.  The success and progress of this country is directly built on the hard work of these immigrants.   If we fail to remember these things we make decisions based only on the here and now and we don’t learn from those who have gone before.
History is also important to us as individuals.  I was talking with my daughter the other day and I was talking about my grandmother on my dad’s side.  The more I talked the more I realized how much of who I am is because of her.  She shaped my father into the man he would be, as my mother’s family did for her.   I learned a quiet strength from my grandmother, I have my father’s stubbornness and I hope his willingness to help others.  I learned how to love my kids from the mom my mom was.  She dis so much for us that I didn’t appreciate until I had kids.  Then there was this big ole extended family, aunts and uncles, cousins and so forth.  We have all scattered in the years that have passed but I smile when I think of gatherings filled with laughter, love, good food, bad jokes.  I think I learned loyalty from them.  In my extended family if someone needed something there was someone to give it.  I remember my aunt taking my sister to get her driver’s licence in her Mercedes.  I could probably fill pages with stories but I won’t.
So I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone, but maybe if we stop and look we can learn about who we were, who we are and who we can be, both as a nation and as individuals.


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