I’ve not had the chance to be much of a tourist. Much of my travels have been with work or visiting family. I’ve been to some wonderful places, but not purely for sightseeing.
Given the opportunity to see historic places will cause me to go a little out of my way. I’ve developed a love of history because I’m married to a history buff whose thinking has always been that if we don’t learn from the past, we’re doomed to repeat our mistakes.
While in Washington DC, my daughter and I were able to take her two kids to the Mall. Not shopping, but the one near the White House.Surrounded by the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the World War 2 Memorial made for a stunning panorama of memories made over time. Of people and places that have impacted our country.
These monuments reflect a cost of those affected by them. We live in a culture that chooses to move forward rather than look back; we need to learn from what was avoid problems we’ve already encountered.
History is the truth of the past. We’ve never done it all right; being human we’ve made mistakes at every turn, in every decade, with every person. That has never changed. People hurt people.
Monuments aren’t reflective of someone or something done perfectly. With every good and right decision made by countries, governments, leaders, there are many poor choices that affect people in harsh ways.
We won’t do it right this side of heaven. Those who strive for perfection will be disappointed.
Sloane asked me a question as we stood at the World War 2 memorial. “Why would you want to remember a war?”
I thought for a moment and answered, “It’s not the war that’s important to remember but the changes for good that it hopefully brought.”
Often, the actions that make the biggest difference are the ones with the greatest cost. it’s why we have memorials and monuments–not to highlight the hard and the hurtful, but to honor those who chose to sacrifice themselves for a greater cause. Their choices move us a little forward in improving who we are.
Even if it’s just a tiny step.
The cross of Christ was a monument that the Romans and Jewish leaders hoped would humiliate Jesus and remind others that He couldn’t possibly be who He said He was–the Son of God. Crosses reflected death of the worst kind, for the vilest of criminals, a humiliation that would end their lives in shame.
The empty cross is more than a monument to victory and life. Death couldn’t keep Jesus in the grave. He rose to give us life and hope.
Nobody wants to remember the ugliness of what was inflicted on Jesus at the end. We remember He died for a purpose–to offer us a way to have eternal life.
History is rarely pretty. It reflects our attempts to do right, to make changes for good, and realize that our changes often hurt others.
A true monument of history to hope, like the cross, is the reminder that good can come from pain. That hope can come from hurt.
How do you see it?