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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Why history matters

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  • There is a great deal of attention given to the heritage in both Wayne and Pike counties. We know we are not alone; across the country there are local historical societies and individuals who care about who came before them, what happened here and why.
        In this corner of Pennsylvania, the numerous local historical societies as well as the county historical societies are starting to meet together and share ideas and concerns, and see how they can help one another in their common goals.
        We are not lacking for resources and people to tell us about our past.
         Why is it important?
        For many people, the focus on the present as well as the near future seems to be enough, with no reason to look back. After all, generations who have passed have entered their eternal rest. Why should they matter now, or what they did?
       True historians are not solely focused on what has been and lost in the dust of forgotten years, trying to sort out the mists and mysteries of those days, years, decades and centuries prior to the calendar on our wall.
        The true historian is celebrating not death, but life. They sense an urgency to tell the rest of us what they have found.
        It matters to care about our heritage. Those who went before us made their mark; they cared about their communities and built the foundation for their children and grandchildren. Generations of our community, now long gone, are no longer here to speak for themselves, They each had a legacy. Historians are keeping their legacy alive. We can see it as a moral obligation to speak on their behalf to the best our research allows us.
        Think of it this way: We who are alive and doing what we can to be good community members, likely hope we can contribute in some way to make our town a better place. Who will remember what we did or try to do once we are gone? Our children will likely have the best recollection; our grandchildren perhaps a bit less recollection. After that, it is anyone's guess. Tomorrow's historians will care enough to learn about us.
       We may never stop and wonder why Honesdale is where it is, why Hawley has a nice big park and  big stone fortress-like building on the hill. We may not question why Pike County has so much woods while Wayne is dotted with pastures. We take for granted the big lake we call Wallenpaupack and not ask how it came to be, or why towns like Milford, Hawley and Honesdale still have such quaint, old architecture We shop at Wal-Mart or K-Mart and not speculate on what was there before. We assume that parking lot was always there.
    Page 2 of 2 -    There's a past to be found out. Those who came before us had values and reason behind what they  left for us today. We have much to learn from them, to use to evaluate what we do and appreciate today. We can use it to guide the future, to build upon that inheritance of generations past our historians strive to understand and tell us about.

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