Victor Davis Hanson’s column in yesterday’s Washington Times should not be missed: “What happened to history?” Hanson observes:
We rarely mention our forebears. These were the millions of less fortunate Americans who built the country, handed down to us our institutions, and died keeping them safe.
Such amnesia about them was not always so. Public acknowledgment of prior generations characterized the best orations of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy, who looked for guidance from, and gave thanks to, their ancestors.
We rarely do.
I would go one step further and observe that the little history that contemporary high school students learn (Hanson refers to it as “therapy”) is more often than not factually wrong — that blacks and women were excluded from the proposition that “all men are created equal,” that the founders believed in the rightness of slavery, that Lincoln was a racist and a politician who would change his tune depending on his audience, that the Civil War didn’t have anything to do with slavery, and so on.
Hanson observes that we are “the beneficiaries of past sacrifices and wealthy largely because of the toil of others who were far less secure.” I would love to hear his thoughts on what we owe to those who sacrificed and who gave the last full measure on our behalf.
UPDATE: High school history teacher Rob Mandel of Mandelinople writes that I have no idea how bad the situation is and refers me to his post: “My recent kerfuffle.”