I taught American History for fifteen years, but have loved and studied history all my life. Some days I get discouraged when I watch the news and see how much of what was fought for by past generations is now being diluted and distilled in modern times. Yes, I do believe in progress. But not at the expense of the foundation upon which our country was built; upon which it has survived and flourished; upon which it still stands.
We must always remember that these generations of men and women we judge using the long lens of time and the benefit of our current moral and social standards, were in fact human. They lived and breathed, made mistakes, suffered, and learned throughout the course of their lives, just as we do.
As a teacher and historian, I learned early on that as a society, we benefit from learning and understanding the history of our Nation, of the world, in all its complexity. In doing so, we gain the capacity to move forward with wisdom we can only acquire through close and unbiased examination and interpretation of the facts. It is the way I approached teaching history, and the way I encouraged my students to approach, not just history, but all aspects of their education.
That is why current trends that seek to alter and rewrite our Nation’s history is something I find wholly destructive and detrimental to our future. This continued altering of history undermines those generations that came before us and significantly weakens the ones to follow. For if we don’t fully understand and learn from the past, we are most assuredly doomed to repeat it.
Jennifer N. Fenwick, author | In the Eye of the Storm and Four Weeks