Disclaimer: This post is not about writing, or MY stories. But it is about history as a story, which is what made me post it here.
I read this article today on Seattle Times, about the series of events in Seattle that were put into motion with the Pearl Harbor attacks on December 7th, 1941. It is a very well written summary that, unlike so many writings on historical events, focuses on the experiences of regular people. It is not a sensationalized account of one survivor, or a cold facts-and-figures summary of military actions, but instead, a telling of facts in a way that draws the reader into the time and place. It allowed me a sliver of experience that was otherwise out of reach as a woman who was not alive during WWII. The members of my family who were alive in 1941 were not even living in Seattle. But, because this is an integral part of my home city’s history (that is nonetheless often taught as a mumbled footnote to lessons about WWII in public schools, even here,) it is important to me.
And, if you live in America, it should be important to you too, no matter where in the country you live. (I’d argue, even, that it’s important to know about no matter where you live, but that’s a subject for a different post.)
As an American, it’s important to remember that national fear is not unique to our current era. And it’s important to remember that we, as a nation, have done things out of fear that we now know were wrong–that we are ashamed of. It’s important to remember that America has interned its own citizens in our not so distant past.
The beautiful thing about history is that it’s a story. It’s a story rife with lessons, just waiting to be learned and applied. The reason we all must be aware of our nation’s story, at least generally, is that those lessons are how we ensure we don’t repeat parts of the story we wish we could edit out.