If I mention the word history, most people stop and glaze over.
Let’s be honest about it. The way history is taught it’s boring. It’s about dates and famous people.
I’m here to tell you that’s not what history is.
History isn’t about dates. It’s not about the famous.
It’s about you and me.
Don’t believe me, well, here we go.
George Patton and the Battle of the Bulge. Patton turned his army and marched them to get to Bastogne and help relieve it when the Germans attacked.
But who was that Army?
It was men like Levi Martinez who wasn’t much older than a boy when this happened. It’s about him walking in the cold and snow, almost falling asleep and almost stumbling into the way of a Sherman tank. It’s about him tired, frustrated, and taking a walk up to German machine gun and capturing it.
History is also about pictures. The first pictures I recall seeing about the Atomic Bomb tests, where US Military Personnel were used, was in a supplement to the World Book Encyclopedia. At that point, it was dates.
Then I met Sheriff Toby Madrid who at the time was a young Marine and was one of the faceless thousands in those pictures who were part of those tests. His story surprised me. At that point it stopped being about dates, but about a person, and what he saw and felt.
History is about a woman flying a bomber into Pueblo, Colorado, with an engine on fire, but not getting the credit for doing a dangerous job because she was a woman.
History is about President George Bush being interviewed about being shot down in the Pacific and haunted by the fact he has no clue what became of the other men in the plane with him.
Or Neil Armstrong on the Moon. The man who was at the point of the spear of humankind’s greatest triumph. But the moment wasn’t about him, or Buzz, or the countless thousands that propelled him to that moment. It was about him looking into a crater, and dropping a child’s bracelet into the crater. While the rest of the world celebrated, he mourned the loss of a child.
That’s what history is about. It’s about what connects us as people. It’s about those moments that we can relate to someone else.
That’s why I collect the stories and tell them. Because it’s not about dates. It’s about people.
You’re a person.
That means like it or not, your life is historic.