History Matters

Posted: March 23, 2019

It is only fitting that my first blog entry be about the purpose, vision, and driving force behind this website. 

From very early on, I have held a deep passion and interest in history. I can recall history lessons from way back in elementary school that fascinated me to the extent that I would insist on being taken to the library after school to get a book to read more about the topic. This still holds true today, though I now usually get that fix from the Internet. Here, much of the credit goes to the history teachers of the Half Hollow Hills School District, who, despite the pressures of preparing students for standardized tests and completing a challenging school curriculum, are able to make history come alive. 

I am painfully aware that my passion for history is not shared by many. Quite often, I find myself surrounded by student voices that speak of the futility of studying a subject they find redundant. Why bother about something that happened ages ago? What is its relevance today? Why spend an afternoon at the MET looking at Egyptian artifacts or paintings by an Old Master?

History, for me, is storytelling at its best. It’s an endless source of tales that tell the story of how we came to be, how as a society and people we came to think, speak, and act as we do. It connects, through time, the evolution of the human race. It’s the data bank, if you will, of mankind’s triumphs and tragedies, it’s achievements and blunders, it’s chapters of oppression and liberation. I believe the study of our past not only teaches us invaluable lessons, but also imparts an ability to reflect, to think intellectually with a perspective that has benefitted from a view in the rear mirror. Likewise, the study of history is imperative for good, informed citizenship. One of the most effective ways of tackling complex problems of the present is to look to the past. The events and developments that have defined our time—the terrorist attacks of September 11, the financial crisis of 2008 and subsequent Wall Street bailout, the creation of movements that seek social change such as Black Lives Matter and the Me-Too Movement, cyber bullying, and drug abuse—will be the subjects of study for future generations looking to learn lessons from and find solutions to the issues they confront.

As the youth of this nation, it is incumbent on us to carry this forward, to study, celebrate, and preserve our history, to learn from it and be inspired by it, and in the process, become better citizens for tomorrow’s America. The Dix Hills-Melville Historical Association’s online platform is a first step in the endeavor to engage the youth and community at large to participate in this journey.