Correspondence

The Necessity for Ancestor-Worship

"It is a noble faculty of our nature which enables us to connect our thoughts, sympathies and happiness with what is distant in place and time; and looking before and after, to hold communion at once with our ancestors and our posterity. There is a moral and philosophical respect for our ancestors, which elevates the character and improves the heart"—Daniel Webster.

Now that history is becoming "her story," it becomes necessary that civilized people actively preserve that which would otherwise perish. A nation can survive only insofar as the idea of the nation survives; and this national idea is made up of many individual experiences and ideals, bound together by historical forces, and feeling themselves part of one related, corporate entity. It follows, therefore, that we should endeavor especially to retain our parochial, familial memories, because these constitute our national patrimony.

If we do not know about the history of our own families, we should attempt to find out about them. However unremarkable, or even ignoble, these histories may be when seen in isolation, they have become woven into the national being, like individual threads worked into a tapestry, and have taken on a vicarious, grander life of their own when viewed in the national context. Researching family history is not only fascinating in itself, but also gives a longterm perspective on those events of today which can otherwise...

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