The Histories of History

            As we look back in time, different historical events tend to be told through the viewpoint of one single party.  As history is studied in various nations, the norm is to comprehend the different facets of each event and how they affected that country, rather than looking at a specific happening and understanding it from all angles, as well as analyzing the whole story, both the good and the bad.  With this tactic of understanding, we tend to close ourselves off from the “other” around us; that is those whose lives and pasts are impacted in a way different from ours.  Looking at the histories of the past as opposed to just a single history tells us the whole story and opens our eyes to every aspect that makes up our world as it is today.

In every experience, there are many sides to every story.  Whether it is light hearted or a serious topic, viewpoints vary between each individual.  In Veronica’s “Meet the New Guy”, the characters’ perceptions of Kevin, a new kid in town, are different.  While Veronica is head over heels for the new guy, Jughead knows that in reality Kevin is gay.  From the different takes on this “story”, while the end result is the same for everyone (Veronica is finally let down easy with the truth), the ways in which the characters arrive at this end result are different.[1]  This example demonstrates the multiple sides that a single event could have.  While some believe that their opinion or version of the story is the correct and only one, others could see it in a different light, which is equally as valuable in the end.  These sorts of histories have been important throughout our pasts, because they show the many facets that make up one single incident.

The necessity of histories is also demonstrated in a way that each event has underlying aspects that could not be explained initially.  The Vietnam War faced much controversy both within the United States and abroad.  As the first war whose events were exposed Americans, the coverage seemed to cause more harm than good.  However, episodes during the war hurt the nation to an even further extent.  The My Lai massacre that took place in 1968 was kept under wraps until later in time.  The cover up of the killing of many Vietnamese civilians was seen as “a graver phenomenon than the horror following the assassination of President Kennedy,” as said by Time magazine in 1971.[2]  This moment in time was seen as a disgraceful period and although it is not looked at with so much distaste now, it demonstrates the importance of every aspect of earlier times.  Each event has its place in our past and even if it does not affect us personally, it makes up the world and environment in which we grow up today.

The many stories that make up our history are essentially the minute details of the histories of our past.  Every story has its place in the formation of our present identities, and it is critical that we examine each aspect of our past rather than try to simply comprehend it as a whole.  Thus, the histories that we look back on in critical detail indirectly explain our existence today.

[1] Veronica: “Meet the New Guy”, Comic #202.

[2] Oliver, Kendrick. “Coming to Terms with the Past: My Lai.” History Today. 56.2 (2006): 37-39. Print.

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