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History: Passion and importance

All of us have a story to tell which, in its own small way, becomes a part of history, albeit most of it untold. I developed a strong passion for history growing up.
Back during grade school, I was only interested in video games and reading fictional books. It was not until high school that my interest blossomed.
What started me on the path was WWII. Indeed, thousands of people can say their interest in history was awakened by this period, and who can blame them? WWII was a cataclysmic conflict that left an everlasting impression on the minds of survivors and future generations.
However, history should not only be limited to wars that shook the world – rather it should be expanded to include people, politics, economics and great events that challenged society at its core.
I have passionately been reading about history, with my main sources being History Today, All About History and History of War. I have also read region specific history magazines such as Canada’s History, my curiosity expanding and desire to find out more with each succeeding monthly issue released. I also read books examining history, No More Champagne: Churchill and his Money being one of my favorites.
Aside from magazines and books, I also turn to the television and look up some documentaries on YouTube. Over the years, I’ve accumulated a plethora of information from leading professors, witnesses and survivors in those films – they tell a story that is so vivid, so emotional, and so important that no one can ever forget.
I remember when I watched the five-part series “The Wehrmacht.” The series depicted the surviving German soldiers and witnesses who participated in the Second World War – how they perceived the conflict, how some were abhorred at the mistreatment of the conquered people, and how some tried to form a resistance to stop the rampant madness and bloodshed.
I recently watched “The Coronation,” celebrating 65 years since Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation as Queen of the United Kingdom. This documentary gave everyone a unique insight, and one that surprised me about the Queen’s personality.
In one instance, when she examined the Imperial State Crown, she seemed to show sentimentality towards the pearls adorned on the top, saying how “dead” they looked and how they should be treated with tender care.
What also surprised me was she never saw the film reels of her coronation, and that she never realized that the very Crown Jewels she was to wear at her coronation were hidden under Windsor Castle during the Second World War.
History to me personally is very important. Reading the stories gives me an insight into what it was like, how unfair it was for specific groups within society, and how it has shaped nations today.
Furthermore, history teaches us very valuable lessons. To use WWII as an example, it teaches us that because of racial hatred and warped ideologies, it led to the Holocaust and numerous barbaric war crimes.
The deaths of over six million Jews have scarred those who witnessed the horror, and those who witnessed the brutality of their enemies will live with that trauma for the rest of their lives.
As a result, following the formation of the United Nations, a charter of Human Rights was formed to protect people around the world from cruelty and genocide.
And the comfort women. When the Japanese conquered the Philippines, many of them, as young as 13 and 14, were forced to become sex slaves to the soldiers.
Sadly though, many of today’s people are still ignorant, or choose to ignore history. Either they cannot face the past or their interest in their own profession far outweighs looking back to examine and rectify mistakes.
There are only a few who think history is a worthy subject to study, compared to business, technology and engineering. Though it is important to remain in the present and plan for the future, it is also important to learn about the past.
Those events, those people, those wars, those in previous generations who endured all are what make up a country’s culture. The people from the last generation are rapidly approaching death, and there are still many stories that have yet to be written or heard. Without history, there is no culture. And without culture, there is no country.
And so I study history with a fierce passion, to note down facts, to note down the importance, and to show the world that history is still in the making – it does not stand still. There is past history, and ongoing history.
Even now, history is unfolding before our eyes, if we but care to stop and take note, and be part of this ever unfolding tapestry. I write this story not only to encourage people to read past history, but to encourage them to make history.