HCPO Bob Niemiec, Nicholas Fiore, BMC Dave Karpin
The Importance of Heritage
Honoring those who have gone before us
4340 Alpenhorn Dr., Apt 1B
Comstock Park, MI 49321
To grasp the importance of heritage one must first understand the term. A definition provided by Merriam-Webster states that heritage is “something transmitted by or acquired from a predecessor (“Heritage,” 2018).” The specific wording of this definition clearly states the existence of a predecessor, from which something has come from. The context of that which is inherited can provide depth and meaning and support the importance of the provider. Specific cases of heritage such as culture are thus handed down by an individual or groups of people from generation to generation. Without those who came before and those who came before them there would be no heritage, nothing to pass on. And so, it would only be proper to honor those who have gone before us and provided for those after. Through an understanding of cultural heritage and observation of specific instances the importance of honoring those who have gone before us will be explained.
With regards to heritage an important concept is “cultural heritage,” which is represented by history and identity or as a “bond to the past, to our present, and the future (“What is Cultural Heritage?”).” In relation to this is the concept of a heritage cycle, wherein parts of the past can be made into the future. This cycle follows as such: By understanding cultural heritage it is valued, which causes people to care for it, which helps people enjoy it, which returns to understanding cultural heritage (“What is Cultural Heritage ”). This understanding leads to a caring for heritage and thus a caring for those who came before to provide such.
No doubt when one thinks of the term “those who came before us” thoughts immediately go to the men and women of the armed forces whose sacrifice has laid a foundation for those who followed. For citizens of the United States of America the holiday Memorial Day, originating sometime after the end of the Civil War is a strong example of honoring those who came before (“A Brief History,” 2015). Originally known as Decoration Day further conflicts such as World War II spread the importance of the holiday to the American people. Gaining its name in 1967 and verified in 1968 with the passing of the Uniform Holiday Act, Memorial Day would serve as a specific day of serious reflection. Though any person from a prior generation could be “those who came before us” holidays such as Memorial Day have served to cement specific groups as those that have laid the groundwork for future generations and the freedoms they enjoy.
Another specific example of remembering those who came before comes in another holiday, President’s Day. There are two presidents that were the focus of President’s Day, the 1st President George Washington and the 16th President Abraham Lincoln. The contributions provided by these two individuals have stood to define the ideals of the United States of America. As stated by historian David Hackett Fischer, George Washington was “a model of integrity, self-discipline, courage, absolute honesty, resolve, and decision, but also forbearance, decency and respect for others (“What today’s leaders could learn,” 2017).” Abraham Lincoln could be described as “knowledgeable, eloquent and solidly principled (“What today’s leaders could learn,” 2017).” These and other leaders of the United States, with their words and actions paved the way for future Americans, and as such they are honored and remembered for their contributions.
A third example would be the CGC Escanaba (WPG-77), constructed in 1932. The Escanaba would call Grand Haven, MI her permanent station (“The Coast Guard at War”). During the course of World War II the Escanaba was deployed both as a rescue vessel and for convoy duty. It was during the latter when on June 13th, 1943 an explosion occurred, and the Escanaba was sunk. Only 2 of her crew were rescued alive out of 103 (“The Coast Guard at War”). Over the next few years the mast of the Escanaba was recovered and brought to Kelly Memorial Park in Grand Haven, and in 1949 Mayor Martin Boon declared the park would be renamed the Escanaba Memorial Park (“Escanaba Park,” 2017). This example clearly demonstrates the action of honoring those who came before us directly and places an importance in remembering them and that which they stood for.
Through an understanding of cultural heritage and observation of specific instances the importance of honoring those who have gone before us can be explained. An understanding of cultural heritage instills a desire to care for such and the memory of those who provided such. A healthy respect for the freedoms and comforts of enjoyed today is cultivated in this honor and remembrance. The words, actions and sacrifices of many have paved the way for the freedoms enjoyed by many more today. From this it can be concluded that it is important to remember and honor those who came before us.
Heritage. (n.d.). Retrieved June 7, 2018, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heritage Last updated 12 June, 2018
Franchi, E. (n.d.). What is Cultural Heritage? Retrieved June 8, 2018, from https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/art-history-basics/beginners-art-history/a/what-is-cultural-heritage
What is Cultural Heritage. (n.d.). Retrieved June 14, 2018, from http://www.cultureindevelopment.nl/cultural_heritage/what_is_cultural_heritage
Berenson, T. (2015, May 24). A Brief History Behind Memorial Day And How It Started. Retrieved June 14, 2018, from http://time.com/3892630/why-do-we-celebrate-memorial-day/
Board, E. (2017, February 19). Opinion | What today's leaders could learn from those we honor on Presidents' Day. Retrieved June 14, 2018, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-todays-leaders-could-learn-from-those-we-honor-on-presidents-day/2017/02/19/805ba5dc-f528-11e6-b9c9-e83fce42fb61_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.e18e62c3df30
Clancey, P. (n.d.). The Coast Guard At War. Retrieved June 14, 2018, from http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ships/tande/WPG/wpg77.html
Seibold, D. (2017). Escanaba Park. Retrieved June 14, 2018, from https://www.grandhaven.org/visitors/parks/escanaba-park/ype your paragraph here.
Nicholas A. Fiore
2018 QMCS TOM Rau Memorial Scholarship Winner
Chapter President BMC Dave Karpin Ret, Presents Nicholas Fiore with his $500 check.