THIS DAY IN HISTORY.
History is often regarded as a boring subject at school; historians are frequently perceived as people who deal with old musty stuff. One of the greatest challenges an educator may face is showing children and young adults that in fact History is not boring. It is quite fascinating per se. Every day, this day, makes History, contributes to the sum total of human activities. True, some of them would be forgotten or never noticed; others may be appreciated only after a passage of Time; yet others may or may not find their place in the annals of the Earth. Simply memorizing all the kings and queens or all the presidents, all the wars and conflicts, all the scientific discoveries would not give one a complete picture. Understanding the meaning, the influence, blending together the Past, the Present and the Future would give us a peek at the Truth. Maybe.
All those wars for instance that shook Europe non-stop through the centuries, which shaped and re-shaped its borders. They used to get hopelessly muddled in my memory until I read several wonderful novels which not only describe the numerous conflicts but also show human beings caught in those events. Alexander Dumas was probably the greatest story-teller of the 19th century, the precursor of the modern action genre. While Sir Walter Scott in the United Kingdom would laboriously write his historical novels devoting whole pages to the minute descriptions of the customs and traditions, of the clothes and shoes, of the armament and horses, creating tapestries where his knights and beautiful ladies could be vaguely seen, the French author would present active heroes who would love and hate passionately, who would fight any battle with abandon and who would make merry at the end of the day. Both of them were great writers whose books are still read and turned into movies.
It is impossible to even list the real people who helped create History and thus our today. Madame Curie and her discovery of radio-activity, or its further development? Albert Einstein and his theory of relativity? The Great Depression of the 1930s, the man’s first flight into space and the first landing on the Moon? Those events have one huge advantage over anything that is happening now: they already happened, and thus they receded into the depths of Time. We can study them, see the century or the decade at a distance, and try to gauge their impact on the present existence. The great wave of emigration and its influence on humanity is ongoing, we have no idea yet how it may change the whole planet.
Does one person’s action shift our perception of a process? Certainly. Look at the acts of terrorism and the resulting reactions. The internet, the immediacy of news sharing make us all parts of the whole, whether we realize it or not. One little hotel was buried in the snow avalanche, and the whole planet mourned. One woman gave birth to fraternal twins who turned out to be different racially, and millions of followers oohed and aaahed over the cute photos. A giant alligator strolled across the path in Florida, and tourists rushed to the place to take pictures. We would not even know about these historically small happenings were it not for the modern technology. Amazing but true: most probably while Genghis Khan’s hordes raged all over Asia and Europe went on the Crusades, there were parts of the world which remained blithely unaware of those exploits which eventually changed the whole planet.
Today is History. What we all do daily is History. It is up to us to preserve the world and Life itself, to ensure that after Today there is a Tomorrow.