We must ‘go back and fetch it’ for our children’s sake

“There’s an African word, sankofa,” Joan continued, “that kept coming back to me during my walk. It means ‘go back and fetch it.’  Step back into the past and bring it to the present, so we don’t make the same mistakes. That’s what I learned on the Underground Railroad. We have to keep our past alive.”

America’s Prophet: Moses and the American Story by Bruce Feiler

Another fascinating book that I recommend.

Feiler tells the American story and our connection to the great leader, Moses in ways that most of us have never known or thought of. The Joan (Southgate) in the quote, is a descendant of American slaves and it goes without saying that the story of Moses and the Exodus has great meaning to her and her ancestors, just as it did to the Pilgrims who sailed across their own Red Sea to arrive at their own Caanan.

Joan’s quote struck a real chord with me. We have allowed too much of our history to be rewritten or completely forgotten. We have let go the greatness of our nation and the great men who created it.

Some time ago I read a book about Valley Forge. In the winter of 1778, Washington had begged Congress for supplies for his ragtag troops but none came. Finally, he lamented “that unless some great and capital change suddenly takes place … this Army must inevitably … Starve, dissolve, or disperse, in order to obtain subsistence in the best manner they can.”

The suffering these men endured that winter, many dying of typhus and pneumonia, really is incomprehensible to me as I sit on my soft sofa in a heated home with my computer, cell phone and HDTV. It’s hard for me to even imagine the sacrifice of these farmer/soldiers, 232 years later.  Who were these men and why did they leave their farms and homes to fight for independence? Did they realize the cause and the importance of it? Was life so intolerable for them under the British and their heavy taxation, to give up all for this?

Valley Forge is only one great moment in our story. There are so many moments in our history that cannot be forgotten or misunderstood or rewritten by those with a nefarious agenda. We have opted out our responsibility to those who teach our children their own false truths.

We must go back and fetch it before it’s completely lost, for the future of our children and our nation.

4 responses to “We must ‘go back and fetch it’ for our children’s sake

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