Sometimes, I am really shocked when I realize how ignorant some US citizens are about the history of the United States. These days, I find some of the better informed are those who have become naturalized citizens. Perhaps that’s why I’m pretty upbeat about the US. Seven of my eight great-grandparents were naturalized citizens who came to the US looking for a better life.
True, there have been some very negative instances in U.S. History, but much positive too. Much of the positive was the mending of what was negative. Take Brown versus the Board of Education as an example.
I can’t go into the minutiae, there’s simply too much of it, but I am happy I have studied history for so long. The downside is I lost my sense of wonderment for a while. I found it again working on my eighth great-grandparent’s family tree.
In the beginning, it was 100% Puritan, both English and Welsh. About 150 to 200 years later, their great-grandchildren fought the War of Independence from England, along with immigrants from other places, Scots, Germans and French, as well as migrants from Barbadoes and other British colonies. Mostly they were farmers and craftspeople. Some of them killed indigenous people, but others married them. Our history as well as the history of our country isn’t back or white, its many shades of grey.
For a long time, our history was written by the well-off among us, those who gained the most from the exploitation of others as well as the land. Today, the sometimes reviled ‘revisionist’ history is about the little guys, my ancestors and perhaps yours. Mostly, they did not set out to exploit anyone, they set out to improve their own lives and the lives of their families. This history is called ‘Popular’ history because it’s about the people. I love it because it helps me feel good about who I am and my country. Very important as we approach Memorial Day and the seventieth anniversary of D-Day.
The girls spent most of yesterday in Kansas. They texted a few interesting sights:
Hannah’s new hairdo. The hairs on her chin belong to sister Joy
Cyclists headed to Washington DC for the Rolling Thunder event on Memorial Day.
The open road.
An oil well or two
A sign at the rest stop
Kansas seemed to go on forever. Then all of a sudden, they saw Oz.