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  • Foundations of Truth

Hold On To History

Updated: Jan 2, 2020

After the Israelites crossed the Jordan River to enter the Promised Land, Joshua instructed them to erect a stone monument, explaining:

“In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over.” (Joshua 14:19-24)

The Israelites actually erected several such monuments throughout their history. They found that the only way to fully understand their present was to look back and remember their past.

In America today, there is a growing movement to eradicate any knowledge about much of our past—especially anything about our nation’s Founders. For example, George Washington University’s nickname is the “Colonials,” but students voted to stop using that it because they felt that time and people were negative.[1]

Similarly, students at Hofstra University demanded the removal of a statue of Thomas Jefferson, believing that it represents an oppressive history that exploited non-whites. And the Heritage Foundation similarly drew heavy criticism after it posted a tweet with a picture of Jefferson’s statue and the caption summarizing his writings: “This nation was founded not on blood or ethnicity, but on an idea: that of natural human equality.”[2]

Critics ignore the fact that the ideas Jefferson espoused were used by abolitionists in the movement toward equality in the United States. In fact, when slavery was banned with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, the US House asked noted civil rights leader and black pastor Henry Highland Garnet to deliver a special sermon on the occasion. Garnet did so, and rejoiced that Jefferson was celebrating with the angels over the end of slavery—something Jefferson had advocated for throughout his life.

To deny this fact is to deny history itself. But even if one does not accept this view, then, as African American journalist Sophia A. Nelson wrote in an opinion piece for NBC: “Keep the statues where they are so that people can explain history to their kids.”[3]

In Romans 15:4, Paul reminds us:

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”

America today has much that can be learned from its history. And even if it is bad or becomes romanticized, it is still far better to remember history than to erase it. While it certainly is not spotless, to pretend that something did not happen, or to degrade the forefathers who created our remarkable nation is counterproductive and even dangerous.

George Santayana said, “Those who do not know history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them.” The quotation has been used so often that it borders on the cliché, but without monuments to our history, it truly is easy to forget.

Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.


[1] Daniel Payne, “George Washington University quietly purging its ‘colonial’ brand from campus,” The College Fix (August 30, 2019),

[2] Jarrett Stepman, “Why Cities Shouldn’t Take Down Confederate Statues,” The Daily Signal (June 1, 2017),

[3] Sophia A. Nelson, “Opinion: Don't Take Down Confederate Monuments. Here's Why,” NBC (June 1, 2017),

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Jun 14, 2020

Outstanding article! Thank you!

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