My grandfather was a medic in World War Two. He passed away in 2008 but before he left this world for a great fishing hole in the sky, we use to have long talks about the state of life. He was frustrated with the place he called home, this little rock called Earth and much more the country he saw good men die to protect. "It's your problem now, Laura", he would say. "I am done with it." "The small farmer, the backbone of this country has been forced out. We produce nothing. We have forgotten who we are and where we come from. Nobody cares about their own past or anything my generation did to keep freedom alive." I would argue with him. I would tell him over and over, I care. I know my history and I know how important the past is. He died believing he was right and I was wrong.
My grandfather was a smart man.
When you turn on the news today, you hear about Missouri, is it 2014 or 1963? You hear about Israel and Palestine. We watched Munich this weekend, that was 1972 but that goes back much further. Have we forgotten so soon the terrorists that Israel faces today are the same ones, basically, who attacked the US in September 2001? Ah, but it goes back further. Oh, and Russia! A few short months ago the world LOVED Mr. Putin because there was an Olympics going on but not everyone was praising him. Even then the Ukraine and other former Soviet countries were trying to tell the world this is a bad man and nobody would listen. We listen now. A plane full of people had to disappear for us to hear but now we are listening.
Does it disturb anyone else but me that history keeps repeating itself? That we continue to fail to learn the lessons from the past and make the same mistakes over and over again?
Has anyone tried to have a conversation with a young person about the past? Trying to even get them to watch a movie about any historical event takes a force of nature. I have tried to talk about things with my nieces and nephew and future step-daughter. Talk to them about their family and the past. Talk to them about their own history much less that of the world. They don't care. There isn't a video game for the family tree. There isn't a computer program for what's happening in Missouri or Israel or the Ukraine and kids don't care because, well, because....we let them.
I am deeply disturbed by all of this. I wake up at nights and watch the news and think, 'I want to give the world back Grandpa. I don't want this mess. This isn't what I signed up for!' So, what do we do about this? How do we fix it and make sure what we leave the next generation isn't as ugly as what they have now? How do we make them care?
How do we open our eyes to the reality of the ugly and stop accepting history repeating itself? How do we learn? How do we get better?
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