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What historical event would you have liked to witness?
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Just about everyone has a moment in time they’d like to go back to witness. Whether it is out of curiosity about the truth or thrill of witnessing something awesome, there are many reasons behind why people choose certain moments. In many cases, you might scratch your head thinking that choice such a great loss of opportunity, but every person truly is different. Ultimately, if we did develop the technology to travel through time, there would be no end of volunteers to help document the past, or even alter it if that is even possible (some theorize it is not).
Historians like myself, however, have a much harder time choosing. Because we appreciate historical events to a greater extent than most. In many cases, as well, those events you think we might choose are not high up on our list. For instance, you may think that I want to see the United States Civil War, but that’s not at the top of my list. My research and the book I wrote took me there, satisfied the curiosity that I had about the era. Now, I might wish to play dress up in those great big gowns, but I can do that any time, thanks to reenactment.
But seriously, what even would I like to see? I’m a Beatles fan, but I can’t say that I’d really relish witnessing a concert back in the 1960s. Which period would I choose over others? How about meeting Oscar Wilde or Jane Austen? Maybe I’d like to see the building of The Great Wall, or even Hadrian’s Wall? Spend some time swing dancing in the 1940s. Witness the moon landing. See if Jesus really walked the Earth. Shake hands with a Roman Emperor. Pay a relaxing visit to the Nile at the height of the Pharaohs…. I can’t even go on with this list because I find myself overwhelmed, and practically giddy.
Yet, in that slide toward failing to choose, I ask myself, what about visiting my great grandmother? What would it be like to see her meet me for the first time? To witness the love that I believe she had for me… When I was born, my mother became very ill and was hospitalized again, so my great grandmother stepped in to help my dad take care of my brother and me (a newborn). She meant a great deal to me in the short time that I knew her, and I suspect that I imprinted on her like baby ducks do, because of her care of me at such an early age. Losing her was painful. No doubt part of me shriveled away, too. This experience is where I draw the empathy from for friend who have lost their parents, but it also reminds me that one day, I will have to let go of very dear ones again.
I think that seeing her hold me and care for me as an infant would be healing for me; a confirmation of my beliefs. Still, I am not sure that is what I would pick. There are so many events, and to choose something so personal may be the least wise choice. It might also only provide momentary relief for the loss, causing further pain. I think I would need a good think for this, and I’d have further questions such as: can I change anything, what would be the repercussions, would witnessing this matter to others?
When and where would you go? Let’s see what the other authors have to say by clicking on their links below…
Stevie Turner says
Yes I’d also like to have met my great-grandparents, and even their parents! If only…
Captain Maiel says
it would be really fascinating to learn more.
Lela Markham says
I picked an event in the life of someone who was not, to my knowledge, a relative, although my ancestors and he were part of the same clan in the same tribe, but yeah, I can imagine checking out my great-great-grandparents who were the first Indians to assimilate … though, since both of them were diarists, I have actually been able to peek into their lives. But it would be awesome to actually see them living what they wrote about.
Captain Maiel says
Wouldn’t it be fascinating? There was so much I wanted to ask my great grandmother. I can only imagine for you, because native culture has been attacked and a lot of it destroyed. That would be an amazing thing, to recover that.