Okay, We Get The Point!

Dry as dust, boring as heck – tedious at best – this seems to be the point with the Daily News’ “This Day in History”.       The basic subliminal message is that it should not be dwelt upon, there are no significant events to worry about and we should dispense with it and get on with the present.     And above all, there are no lessons to be learned from dwelling on our past.

If you’ve been enjoying walking around Newburyport as I do, one homeowner tried to underscore this fact with an interesting plaque put on their historical house:Here nothing happened in 1897

I guess that is the point.

Unfortunately for those who want to bury our past – how can you not feel excitement and passion when you hear that our little city helped shape the world’s only superpower.    How can you not feel adventure and romance at the significant events that Newburyport was part of during its first 100 years of existence.

And the people!     William Bartlett, Caleb Cushing, George Whitefield, Jonathan Parsons, etc. (Listing them all would really tire the reader!) and the heroes, known and unknown; adventurers, inventors, pirates, privateers, powerful businessmen, political powerhouses and daring soldiers not withstanding literary and spiritual leaders.

As I have said before, you can not leave history with historians – I have pitied poor Michael Mroz at the Custom House when these dry bones have spoken. (and the audience too)    In fact, history teachers have so turned off many to the study of past events and people by not explaining the importance and significance.

Why do we not study Joe the Plumber down the street or Harriet the grocery checkout lady?    Or for that matter, why not my neighbor or me for that fact?     It’s because we focus on significant events and people.      Why?     So we can be challenged with a vision, to marvel at their accomplishments and to learn powerful lessons so we too can mirror their successes by modeling our lives in some like-fashion.

Why did Edward Gibbon write the ponderous The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire?     Why didn’t he focus on its successes?     Because it was a powerful lesson that we too could lose our way of life and even our civilization by mimicking the mistakes made so long ago.

Newburyport has such mystery, romance and passion – the Mayor is right to play up the Birthplace of the U.S. Coast Guard but it is just the start!     We should celebrate, explore and learn all about our history.

The more we dig, the more exciting it gets!

-P. Preservationist

PS. The hatred of our past is purely motivated by economics.     If the past is of no value, and the city is not historically and nationally significant;  then no one should mind if we demolish old houses and bury our past.

This entry was posted in Architecture, Art & Culture, Demolitions, Education, Heritage Tourism, History, Preservation, Quality of Life, Streetscapes. Bookmark the permalink.

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