Today, I want to speak to you about remembering. Not the regular kind of remembering, like remembering to do homework or clean the house or post something worthwhile on this blog. I mean remembering things that have changed society, that have happened before. History. I’m going to talk a bit about remembering history.
Today is December 7. And as a student studying history (by the way, I’m studying history) of course I am going to remember that on this day in 1941 Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese.
The days like these that every country has lived through should always be remembered. But time has a way of making things fade. Time has a way of making us forget the things that were once before our faces. And no, Pearl Harbor was not before my face, it happened half a century before I was even born. But history is so important. So much more important than I could ever finds words to describe, so much more important than we could ever know. Each and every day we deal with history: yesterday, last week, last year, years and years ago. History brings us to the present, it creates the future.
And I understand that we can’t always remember everything the way that things deserve to be remembered. After all, the past is dead. It is important to live now, to focus on now. Every day people find themselves in terrible circumstances financially, personally, physically, etc. and the last thing they are going to do is remember something that happened such a long time ago. My best friend just said to me when I explained my frustration over nobody remembering what today was, “Our parents weren’t directly involved with it, so why would anybody bother remembering?” It is so true. Things have become so important to us right now, that we forgot how we even got to right now. We have forgotten to respect the people that died so that we could have right now. I love and appreciate everybody that was and is willing to go out and fight for their country, to sacrifice so much for people they don’t even know.
To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t so long ago that all of these things happened. Even World War I, 100 years ago, didn’t happen that long ago. When anthropologists find fossils from several thousand or even millions of years ago, what does 100 years mean?
To remember is to retain in memory, keep in mind, or remain aware of. That is all we have to do. We don’t have to do anything big and flashy, nothing large and extravagant. We just have to remember. Because history was somebody’s right now. History shows us the terrible things that happened, but also the wonderfully beautiful things. Some of the worst times in the world somehow ended up being some of the most beautiful. We are impacted by historical events more than we will ever know. And people everywhere lost their lives or lost loved ones during these events. They are a part of it all. They do not ever forget. It is our job to remember the sacrifices. It is our job to remember the good as well as the bad. Because in the grand scheme of things, it really wasn’t so long ago.