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WNIJ Perspectives
Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Perspective: History's Heroes And Villains

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Fabien Barral
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Unsplash

I had trouble digesting history classes in high school.

I had no appetite for massive platefuls of dates and names … a chronology of events that I was forced to memorize.

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Those classes are history now. Ha-ha. Gone but not completely forgotten. Even now I feel pressure to never forget the significance of 1776. I still have trouble thinking in terms of dates. But there is something notable about all those names on that history plate. Yes, history buffs. Time and place are important.

But if I were teaching a history class, I’d say, yeah, history is a timeline, an autobahn into the future.

But most important along that highway are the neon signs.

People who made a difference. They are the neon signs throughout history. Think about how we benchmark history with people.

I do wonder at how we attach major historical events — with blame or praise — to a single individual. Still, I know one person can create change … good and bad. All those neon signs along the highway of time are proof of that.

But it’s also important to know who put up those signs. Who keeps them flashing. People who make history are not really alone. There are always those who support. And … those who attack. And … those who watch.

All three groups are part of any significant notch in the timeline.

Now, I have this question …

Which group do you think carries the most weight?

I’m Lonny Cain … and that’s my Perspective.

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