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“Those who cannot remember the past are …”

Posted by Big John on March 15, 2011

Recently I read about an ex-RAF pilot, who had served in World War II, going into a store where the young lady assistant noticed the veteran’s pin in his jacket lapel.

“What’s that badge ?” … she asked.

“Oh, it commemorates my service during the ‘Battle of Britain’ ” … replied the old boy.

“What battle of Britain was that then ?” asked the girl !

I know that it sounds like incredible ignorance, but then we’ve all read of the surveys where people think that Hitler was the German football (soccer) coach and that Churchill is the dog on TV that sells insurance.

So it comes as no shock to learn that so many children now drop history as a GCSE subject at the age of thirteen: and it seems that we are the only country in Europe that allows children to do this.

In the recent report inspectors raised concerns that, in primary schools, many pupils lacked chronological knowledge of historical events, partly because of the fashionable move towards teaching in ‘themes’. The report identified one primary school that skipped from the Romans and Ancient Egypt to the Tudors and then the Victorians. Sounds a bit like flicking from one channel to another with the TV remote.

I just hope that the lessons on the Tudors don’t use scenes from the TV series of the same name, as it’s a bit light on facts, but makes up for it in scenes of royal ‘rumpy-pumpy’. Perhaps they could introduce a sex education and history ‘theme’.

I must confess that I am a bit of a history nut, so I find it sad that so many young people know little or nothing about the exhilarating, inspiring and sometimes not so glorious history of this country, which of course teaches us so much about …

… our place in the world today.


4 Responses to ““Those who cannot remember the past are …””

  1. Jay said

    We have the same problem. I large percentage of people here don’t even know who we won our independence from. But, our politicians like it that way. They prefer for people not to learn history, so the politicians can then make all kinds of claims and people won’t question them.

  2. Jay said it all. It’s not surprising that we agree, since he is my son. lol

  3. Ginnie said

    Yes, you’ve pegged it. We will surely repeat history if we forget it and that’s a very scarey concept. I still have a good friend (Amy, 90 years old) who is a survivor of the concentration camps of WWII. Her tatooed arm tells her story and I’ve written about her. She was asked to relate her experiences and, altho she dreaded it, she agreed just in order to let it be known that it is a real threat.
    Thanks for posting this, John.

  4. rummuser said

    Most young Indians think that Gandhi starts from Indira Gandhi and ends with Rahul Gandhi. Very few can understand my being an Anglophile. They think that I am nuts to consider Cambridge and Oxford to be superior to Harvard and Yale. Yes, it teaches us much about our place in the world today.

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