Dwight D. Eisenhower was an avid reader of history.
In his memoir, At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends, the former president tells about his childhood days lost in books about Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Persia. He loved the stories about famous warriors, kings, and philosophers—the “peaks and promontories,” as he calls it, of history.
But writing his memoir in the 1960s, as an older and wiser man, his view of history has changed. He’s come to realize that history isn’t just about the celebrities of each era, but about the actions of millions and millions of everyday people. It’s their actions and decisions that have sustained the forward movement of history throughout the ages.
Frank Haskell was one of his examples—a Civil War soldier that had coordinated a straggled and outnumbered Union front against a block of Confederates at Gettysburg.
In fifteen minutes, Haskell fortified the formation and prevented a key breakthrough by the Confederate soldiers.
Haskell had acted out of his goodwill, without direction or heed to the rules of hierarchy. In doing so, he made history.
This belief in the power of every individual who strives for goodness—who continues to strive for goodness against the odds—is one central to the American identity.
After all, Haskell was just one individual, and so was Eisenhower. Each had his role in constructing American history as we know it. Our history may have been quite different if either of them were not there.
So there’s no reason to believe that you and I, who are also individuals in this nation’s tapestry, would have any smaller of a role to play than they did.
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At the Epoch Times, we understand that one day, future generations will look back to how we lived our lives today for guidance and strength—just as we look to our history today.
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