Time magazine came out with an article this week on the ‘Myth surrounding the Alamo’.
According to them, there was no line drawn in the sand by Col. Travis, Davey Crockett was executed and many others tried to flee the battle. Obviously, this is directly opposite to what the majority of us in Texas have been taught for many years. The bald truth is over 100 men stood up for what they believed and ending up dead as a result. Fighting for a cause they believed in.
Now, allow me to point out that history is written from many different points of view. Different perspectives, if you will. We have all seen movies where the cops are trying to make sense of a crime scene and the statements from the ten witnesses are never the same.
The same thing occurs in history, very seldom are events recorded or described as they actually happened.
The problem with the destruction of the perception of some historical event is that it can never be 100% accurate or written without any sense of bias on someone’s part.
I think we have to look at the totality and value of the historical event to see if it is worthy of praise or scorn.
Did George Washington really chop down a cherry tree and not lie about it?
Did Betsy Ross really sew the first American flag?
Did Paul Revere act alone on his midnight ride?
Was Custer really the last to die at the battle of the Little Big Horn?
I feel certain we do not know all of the back stories surrounding any event in world history, but should we not look at the overall effect the event or the person had towards us as a society or civilization?
I can recall walking into houses, when I was a cop, and seeing photographs of President John F. Kennedy hanging on the walls. We all are aware of the dark side of him as a man, but should we not respect the good that he accomplished for our country in many ways?
If we are to judge people in context to their entire human lives then how can we condemn someone we perceive as evil when we know nothing about any of the potential positive (if any) aspects of their lives?
Suppose Hitler was a caring personality to his wounded soldiers?
Maybe Stalin was a wonderful grandfather…..
Was Alexander the Great, really great?
Would you change your perception of any of these 3 individuals with more information or did their actions overall, determine how history or you personally, perceives them?
So how do we use events or people from the pages of history to inspire us to do more, to have hope and use those in the history of mankind to stand out as role models for our children?
If we drill down into every person’s life for whatever reason, we will find that they all have warts and flaws of some kind. They are not perfect and we cannot expect them to be so.
So, what we must do in order to maintain our sense of sanity is to look at their actions and sense of purpose as a whole, not as just a part of the equation. We should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Mankind is not perfect and will never be so.
So, are we best served by accepting the intention of the participants without casting aspersions on details which we may learn at a later date?
I am certainly not suggesting we gloss over all events and act as if they had never happened. That is not my meaning at all.
What I am saying is that if we are trying to find out the truth about any historical event or person, we need to look at the event or person in consideration of the social mores and customs of the day. None of us alive should be held responsible for any event in history that occurred hundreds of years ago that may have been wrong at the time but was the accepted practices by the society of the world.
Stories of events in our history are just that, stories.
They are witnessed by men and women, and reported to us with a bias of human perspective from many different viewpoints.
We must strive to look for the purpose and overall effect the event or person had upon us to see if it fits in the category of being a positive or negative item worthy of praise or condemnation.
We certainly need all of the heroes we can find in these days and times, don’t we?
More next week ….