Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday Search: The Events Of Each Generation

When researching the lives of my ancestors I am always cognizant of the larger events happening in the world around them. Additionally, I constantly think about the way of life and what would have been part of their daily consciousness during that period of time. Sometimes I am able to find direct connections to those events or ways of life like military service, prohibition, or the expansion and prevalence of the railroad industry.

However, it is important to remember (and sometimes I have to remind myself), that the stories are there we just have to allow our ancestors to tell them. We can't expect to find anything or wish to find a connection to a person or event. We must look at their lives as we do our own and cherish facts (good and bad) like memories. In my opinion, this is a critical in understanding your ancestors and the lives that they lived.

It is this same thought process that is important for us to remember in our own lives as well. While there are many people who have a direct connection to 9/11, there are even more of us that have been impacted by this tragedy in one way or another. Our lives are different because of it and, in many instances, the courses of our lives have been altered by it. Some more so than others.  

This, unfortunately, is an event that has shaped our time similar to how the various events in history have shaped the lives of our ancestors. Not only does this remain a vivid memory but the time in which we live has allowed us to experience it as it happened, in real time, and also relive the horrors of that September morning. This is both good and bad for obvious reasons.

We had instant access to information and readily available (to a certain extent) communication with loved ones. This wasn’t always the case and it actually makes me wonder if previous generations were better off simply not knowing until long after the fact. But, we can’t change the time in which we live, and, similarly, we can ascribe modern technology and thought process to previous generations… a common mistake that I see much too often.

This is life and the world in which we live. While we may not always like it, we have to accept it. And the same can be said for our ancestors. We may not always agree with the common practices or mentalities of the time but those are the realities of the world for that generation. It is difficult at times, but we have to remove ourselves, and our modern perspective, from the lives of our ancestors and let them tell us the stories about their lives.