There has been a disturbing trend for some people in America who are offended by some of our artifacts, statues, flags and other memorabilia. Instead of viewing these things as part of our country’s history, they feel that reminders of the past should be removed or destroyed.
I remember when this trend began to manifest itself. I was in grade school, and books such as “*Black Like Me,” by John Howard Griffin, “Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain and “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee were discreetly removed. If not removed, then several “offensive” pages were razored out of the books. Even then, I was shocked; first of all, books were (and still are) sacred to me.
At the time, all I could think about was ‘what if they start burning books?’ Little did I know then what was to come.
Every country in the world has its own history, and historical artifacts. These are priceless reminders of what once was; not necessarily what now is. History teaches us lessons learned in the past and helps us understand who we were and how we came to be the way we are now.
History is born from truth, and once history is made, it becomes part of our culture. Take slavery, for example. Today we are horrified by the idea of people having slaves, and the fact that the slaves had no rights or choice. But it is part of our history. This does not mean that we glorify it or practice it today; it is simply a part of history that was true at the time.
When some people decide that tearing down statues or flags or destroying artifacts from our history is the thing to do, we ALL lose. We must remember that the things that upset us now were the norm back then. It doesn’t mean that we condone slavery now. History teaches us what we may need to know so that history doesn’t repeat itself, as in the case of slavery.
What we need to remember is that statues and flags from the past are historical reminders so that we don’t forget how bad things can be if we are not watchful. These relics from the past do not reflect our values today.
As someone a whole lot smarter than me once said, “If we do not learn from history, we are bound to repeat it.”
*From Wikipedia, “Black Like Me, first published in 1961, is a nonfiction book by white journalist John Howard Griffin recounting his journey in the Deep South of the United States, at a time when African-Americans lived under apartheid-like conditions.”