It seems the older I get, the more passionate I am to pursue and absorb the history of this great country. I can attribute a great deal of this to the writings of David McCullough which have been like a front row seat to some of the events (both celebrated and unrenowned) that have shaped the United States of America. All it took was picking up his captivating book “1776“.
And then there are the fictional writings such as that of Wendell Berry which let me catch simple, poignant glimpses of this country at another point in time while affecting me in the way I live my life today.
We all play a great role in history. As McCullough states in “Brave Companions“, “the little-known events of a given time, and people who are not in the headlines, can be what matter most in the long run. And the long run is the measure of history”.
We must look at the past and learn, but not remain there. We need to use its triumphs and failures to inform us as we live our lives in 2012. We all live in the present with the benefit of learning from the past. McCullough also says “the past after all is only another name for someone else’s present”.
May we live today knowing that one day it will be looked upon as “the past”. And may the knowledge that our ancestors garner from our time here help guide them to a better “present” in which they may live.