The Older I Get, The Shorter History Becomes

The Older I Get, The Shorter History Becomes

The Older I Get, The Shorter History Becomes

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.
When I was a kid, World War II was ancient history.
Now I’m old. You would think that World War II would fall further into the past as years go by. But it’s the opposite. Over time, World War II has become less distant. It’s no longer ancient history.
I was born in 1957, the peak of the Baby Boom. Through high school, World War II felt like ancient history. World War II had happened years before I was born. My parents – who seemed very old – had lived through World War II, but I studied it only as history.
Today, World War II feels almost like current events.
World War II took place about 15 years before I was born.
That’s nothing: 9/11 took place more than 20 years ago. In my mind’s eye, I see images of those towers collapsing as though it were yesterday. The first Iraq war started in 1991. Cable television was covering the war more or less live, and that was a different kind of experience. Nixon resigned in 1974. Although I was in high school in 1974, I was on a college campus that summer. I remember all the kids searching for a television set – some security guard had one – and gathering around to watch Nixon’s speech.
The last of those events was almost 50 years ago.
All of a sudden, World War II did not occur so long ago.
It’s more than that.
The time between the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II used to feel like forever.
It turns out it was a mere 20 years.
That helps you to understand why certain people appeased Hitler: Picture the late 1930s. A very short time earlier, nearly a million British soldiers had died on the battlefields of Europe. Shouldn’t you do everything possible to avoid repeating that slaughter?
In fact, all of history has grown shorter over time.
Gay marriage? Homosexuality was illegal in many states during most of my life.
Civil rights? Institutionalized segregation was legal during my lifetime. (I’m setting the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as the end date of legalized segregation.)
Slavery? It ended a few decades before World War I. Only a heartbeat ago.
The slaughter of Native Americans? Yesterday.
It’s more than that. The country of Ireland became independent in 1922. Hardly worth talking about: Ireland had become part of the United Kingdom only in 1801.
Everyone notices that time accelerates as you grow older.
But it’s funny how the passage of time also causes history to shrink.
Mark Herrmann spent 17 years as a partner at a leading international law firm and is now deputy general counsel at a large international company. He is the author of The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law and Drug and Device Product Liability Litigation Strategy (affiliate links). You can reach him by email at inhouse@abovethelaw.com.

Source:https://abovethelaw.com/2022/03/the-older-i-get-the-shorter-history-becomes/

Leave your comment
Comment
Name
Email