Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Clyde List Editorial: Crusade for Freedom

Clyde List is Secretary and Past President of the Sherwood Historical Society, but his opinions only rarely reflect the thinking of the Sherwood Historical Society.

History isn't what it used to be. Ever since 9/11, history has been expanding like the Universe after the Big Bang. My hometown of Sherwood was better prepared than most towns. We have always considered Robin Hood and the Middle Ages as part of our history. But that's not true for the rest of America. All you other people thought the Middle Ages couldn't possibly have anything to do with you. But now we read in the Oregonian every day how the American military is advancing against an enemy who sees the Great Crusades (1099-2006) as modern history.

China is another reason for us to take the long view of history. Recently President Bush lectured this ancient country on her lack of freedom. I can almost hear the Chinese thinking: "Between 1861 and 1865, over 250,000 Americans died defending their right to own slaves! That wasn't very long ago. Let's wait another century or two, the way we Chinese always do when there's an argument to settle, and then we'll see how much America actually cares about freedom."

Hardly anyone reads the Bible anymore, and those who do have a hard time believing what it says. Joshua Chapter 10 says rocks fell from the sky and the Earth stood still. People overcame their fear of the sky (I Samuel 7:10) by hurling stones at each other (Joshua 7: 25 & 26). It's not easy to follow the logic path of people with problems like that to deal with. However, the connection between their fear of God and their hatred of one another seems modern enough.

Countless other examples can be found. J Harlen Bretz proved that the bizarre geology of the Sherwood-Tigard-Tualatin area came into existence a mere 12,000 years or so ago: Well within the life span of the human race. Should we regard the Bretz floods as part of our history or our pre-history?

More and more people are living to 100 these days, so that the span of a single century no longer seems as awesome as it does when we gaze at the frozen facial expressions of our civic ancestors at Morback House museum. I wonder how a century will sound to students who live as long as scientists say we will someday, five or six hundred years maybe. I can only imagine what a compilation of woe that will add up to.

So far, if the Sherwood Historical Society has learned anything from all our research, it is that Sherwood was a railroad town and that the history of a railroad town is inseperable from the history of the nation, and that the history of the nation amounts to no more than a flicker of light in the history of the world. Hopefully, on this blog, the Sherwood Historical Society will add some light to such a fragile glow.

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