10 July 2013

You are the Oracle...

The study of history is rather simple in its explanation. Research, investigate, analyze, discover, catalog, and teach about people, places, and events. Whether it deals with periods that predate the wheel to the most recent iPhone, history is like a 7-11. It happens anywhere, to anyone, and in the most incredible ways. Of course you’ve met a person who didn’t have at least one fascinating, incredible, sad, or funny story. A grandfather who tearfully shares his combat experiences. The Chinese shopkeeper who fled his homeland 40 years ago, because of persecution. A doctor who performed surgery on a President, after an assassination attempt. The child, who is now an old man, recounting how he watched man step on the moon. Walking history books are all around us, and you are one volume more. 

All I need now is a cheeseburger hotdog...
Have you ever stopped to think, that YOU will be that grandfather or grandmother, who tells stories about your time on this earth? Stop and think about all that is occurring around you, all in such quick fashion. As of last week, Egypt is without a president, as he was given bad report card by the people. Days before that, we heard of the brave firemen lost in Arizona. These are just events that have occurred on a grand scale. There are several manners in which we are part of history, we are present at the actual event, watch it unfold on TV, newspaper, or radio, or you are the center or key player in that event. Take for example (something happy), the 1980 Olympics, AKA “Miracle on Ice” (at least for the US). In the height of the Cold War, the US and CCCP hockey teams are duking it out, and we win against the Soviet hockey machine. You have the fans at the rink, those glued to a TV somewhere watching, and the respective teams. At any given time and situation, history is being made and you are a part of the action somewhere.

As I stop to think about last month, it happened to me as well. Three weeks ago, one of my uncles passed away. As I think about his death, it reminded me in the context of this post, that this was another entry in my personal history book. For many of you, this is the same, whether it’s a good or bad event. It may be the birth of your child, graduating college, watching your favorite team win a championship, etc. These events are yours. As well as having to experience family death, an accident, or having to make the hard choice of going on a bacon-free diet *shudder*. Needless to say, these events are inescapable. 

No bacon in the universe?!? KHANNNNNNN!!!!!

Whether the event is personal in nature or it involves, literally, the whole country, we add another page to History’s records. It is sad to think that we find ourselves taking these moments for granted, with the entire world being a blur around us. I have tried to stop and savor the moment, realizing how important it will be to someone. There have been countless of moments in my life, which have stayed with me, and I hope that I won’t forget anytime soon. When I was young, it was the first memory of the Challenger exploding in 89, the Rodney King riots in LA, my grandfather’s death. As I grew older, it was signing my enlistment contract on 27AUG2001 and two weeks later, 9-11 unfolded. A year after boot camp, I’m flying over Montana on a C-9 and listening to President Bush address the nation on Operation Iraqi Freedom, about the start of the campaign. As I hear him over the speakers, I think to myself “I’m in a war…” The next month was incredible to say the least. There are many more events that you could either relate or top, but you get the point about living through history.

What I would like to encourage you folks and those in your lives, especially the younglings, is to be more aware of it. It’s one thing to rely on the video camera, internet, books, etc. another is for YOU to become these devices. Do you play music? Write a song about it. Are you a writer? A poem, book, or daily journal will do. Do you paint, draw, or take pictures? Capture it, for only you can give it life and share that moment with others who see it. I hope to one day have an ample library, with a whole wall dedicated to journals I’ve written, but I have to write. Use your imagination, be candid, and use a dictionary if necessary. Write every detail, take a picture at all angles, those moments won’t repeat themselves. (On a personal note: learn to write in cursive, using a fountain pen, it’s just beautiful. Again, it’s just me saying).  

Now to add the mining equipment...
Just think of all the means that we have available to study history or save it for future generations, something not possible in the past. There are countless people who have understood the urgency of individuals, WWII veterans for example, whose stories have not been recorded. The Veteran’s History Project is one effort by the Library of Congress to save these “pages” of history, and that’s just in this country. Many of us, including me, have relatives in foreign countries whose memories of their area’s history are important. To be able to save those tales, with any related artifacts is just precious. I’m aware that there are limitations, or in the grand scheme of things, this world will pass and all that is in it. I have come to learn, however, that history has been a unique tool in showing me that there is design and sovereignty in our brief existence.

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