I love history. Whether the events are good, bad, embarrassing, or give us a reason to rejoice, history is the makeup of our lives. Send me back 150+ years and I'd gladly go and face whatever hardships, horrors, and wonders our country's ancestors and pioneers experienced.
When someone—anyone—tries to hide, destroy, or otherwise remove pieces of that history, they are erasing part of what has made us who we are today. Not every moment in our history can be looked back upon with pride, just as everything taking place in the world today can't be looked upon with honor, which is why I'm often baffled by anyone's desire to pick and choose what part of our history is important. It's all important.
Without our history, we have no story.
Tearing down monuments and pretending events didn't happen doesn't change the facts or the epic journeys people have taken to overcome hatred and build a better world. To pretend is to forget those people, their sacrifices, their accomplishments, and their hardships.
Progress is wonderful, but not when we stop recognizing those who built the foundation upon which our current successes stand.
We must keep our story, even the parts we'd sometimes like to forget.
Much of history is filled with brutality, sadness, and wrong-doings, but those are the very events which inspired greatness and change. The freedom we love and enjoy today flowed from the blood, sweat, and tears of history.
What we've gained today is because of what they lost and what they fought to give us. I shudder to imagine how they would feel knowing that a few people of today would try to erase them—their sacrifices, their battles, their glories, their sorrows, and their triumphs. How would we feel if 100+ years from now future generations fought to erase us? They, too, would be wiping out their story, their history.
Battles are fought every day and will continue to be fought over the course of our lifetimes, trickling down through every generation. How will they know that good can win if they have no history? How can they know what men and women can accomplish if evidence of the hard-won achievements are erased? How do they create momentous histories of their own if they are told it could one day be destroyed and forgotten?
It can be painful to remember and be reminded of our worst moments and greatest faults, but they existed, and nothing is going to change the truth or the past. History is set in stone, it's been written and immortalized. Our future, and the lengths to which we go in order to honor that history—and learn from it—is up to us.