Witnessing History

hillary_clinton_official_secretary_of_state_portrait_cropI’m going to start out by saying that while this may at first appear to be a political post, that’s not it’s main intent. But as I was contemplating a topic for today’s blog, I kept coming back to the fact that today is, regardless of the results of the U.S. elections, a historic day. It’s the first Election Day in U.S. history that has had a woman as the nominee of one of the two major parties. Whether or not Hillary Clinton wins, that fact is something that will go down in history books. If she does win, the United States will have the first female president in our nation’s 240-year history.

There is something remarkable about being a witness to truly historic moments. Eight years ago we witnessed it when Barack Obama became the first African-American president, indeed the first president we’ve ever had that wasn’t a white male.

obama_swearing_inAmerican history is filled with these moments, good and bad, that command the entirety of newspapers’ front pages. Moments like the beginning and end of the Civil War, the end of slavery, the moon landing, the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, the bombing at Pearl Harbor and 9/11. These are the moments during which people remember where they were, even decades later.

I was born a year after the moon landing and I have no memory of the Vietnam War or its end. The first historic event I really remember is the release of the U.S. hostages from Iran in January 1981, when I was 10 years old. The next big event imprinted on my memory was the Challenger explosion in January 1986, when I was 15. It happened on a day when we were out of school because of snow and it was devastating because of the loss of life, including teacher Christa McAuliffe, and the uncertainty it caused as to whether our shuttle program would ever fly again.

pearlharborattackhonolulustarOf course, we all prefer to bear witness to the positive important moments, and that got me to thinking — what truly historic moments would I like to see in my lifetime? I’d love to see some things like world peace, but realistically I don’t know that it’s even possible. But for things that I believe are feasible, among my top choices would be a cure for cancers (one cure does not fit all) and a cure for Alzheimer’s/dementia. I’d also like to see us halt global climate change by making aggressive adjustments to our energy systems. I don’t want to see us go past the point of no return in destroying the planet. And culturally, I’d like to see an end to racism and misogyny.

And if chocolate cake could become non-fattening, that would be awesome. 🙂

So I’d like to hear your hopeful choices for historic moments you’d like to see in your lifetime. Ready…set…go!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: