Tim Throckmorton: The danger of us forgetting our history

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 14, 2024

English statesman Sir Edmund Burke wisely observed, “In history, a great volume is unrolled for our instruction, drawing the materials of future wisdom from the past errors and infirmities of mankind.” 

History is preserved for us that we may know, learn, and benefit from the successes and mistakes of the past. 

The scriptures also remind us of history’s importance. 

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The Apostle Paul to the church at Rome said, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” 

And to the church at Corinth he admonished, “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” 

Good advice for them and for us! 

What is glaringly apparent in our nation today is the lack of understanding and the teaching of American history! 

Scott Walker, president of Young America’s Foundation and 45th governor of Wisconsin wrote recently in the Washington Times, “The reaction of many college students to the terrorist attacks by Hamas on innocent Israeli citizens seems to be yet another sign of the failure to teach objective history. Many of the current protesters couldn’t even articulate which river they are talking about when they chant “from the river to the sea,” because they know little about the region and the thousands of years of history in the Middle East. Similarly, those who truly understand the history of communism see the false promises that lead to oppression and poverty for the masses. It is the difference between reading about Marxism and understanding it.”

He continues, “Many colleges and universities have reduced or even dropped history requirements. Few students are majoring in history. Worst of all, many courses focus more on ideological themes than objective history. For all the talk about diversity, there is little talk of thought… A good start on the path toward saving America is teaching real history again. Those who understand history are unlikely to repeat the negative parts.”

We here in America are only a mere 4 percent of the world’s population and yet this nation has given more than any other nation to missions and disaster response, taken in more refugees, sent more of its young men and women to war defending the freedom of others, created more opportunities for freedom, and given the world more inventions, medical technology and medicines than all other nations in recorded history. 

I believe the reason is that God has been honored here more than anywhere else in history!

This is the beauty of America’s freedom and opportunity. 

A freedom I might add, that in every corner of the world I have traveled is longed for, appreciated, and yet often never experienced. 

For this to continue unpopular steps are required, it’s been that way from our beginning. 

If this free land which has been a blessing to the world is to continue then we must be good stewards of our nation’s Godly heritage and effectively pass it along to a new generation of Americans.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin gives the illustration where he asks, “Imagine if you will that you are running for your life through the streets at night and you can hear the footsteps of soldiers behind you. You come to a row of houses, and you know that in each of the first four houses their lives the following, an economics professor, a politician, a baker and a dedicated Sunday school teacher. 

Which door would you knock on? 

Rabbi Lapin pauses and then says, you would knock on the door of the Sunday school teacher! 


Because you know for sure that that person values life and the best chance you have of staying alive would be in the home of one who believes that life is sacred and comes from God. 

In the history of the world there has only been one country to which the world could run to for live because our founding documents clearly begin with the truths we call “self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” 

It was September of the year 1814 and Francis Scott Key began to catch a glimpse of the American flag over Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor inspiring him to pen the words that we today embrace as our National Anthem. 

We all know the first verse but may never forget what the fourth verse reminds us, “O thus be it ever when free-men shall stand, Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation; Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land, Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserv’d us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!” 

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave! 

Generations that follow are counting on us to be the best of stewards of America’s Godly history! 

Tim Throckmorton is the national director of Family Resource Council’s Community Impact Teams.