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Essay: "A nation should never forget its past"

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  • Subject area(s): History essays
  • Reading time: 4 minutes
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  • Published: 8 October 2015*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 959 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 4 (approx)

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A nation should never forget its past. If we forgot what happened; we are most likely to repeat the past and the mistakes that started conflict between countries that were involved in wars. These mistakes and actions that a country may have committed in the past are those which have led to their downfall.
In my opinion, a nation should never forget about its past. Instead, it should always remember its background and the great deeds and sacrifices that our forefathers made to shape our country to what it is now. Through this, we are able to understand the thoughts and actions of them and why they may have chosen to do something in particular. Why should we keep in memory those who died for our country if we do not remember the reason for which they gave their lives up for? We learn from all the individuals (good/evil) that were involved in the past. The causes and effects of misunderstandings between countries also allow us to understand and accept the many different cultures around the world as culture clashes between different countries are one of the many causes of war and conflict in the past and present. This brings out a sense of patriotism in the nation once they are aware of what their forefathers have gone through just for them to live peacefully among themselves along with fellow neighboring countries. Today, soldiers do not describe what they are doing for the country in terms that are patriotic or cerebral, preferring instead to stress decorum, and comradeship. On the other hand, those who fought in WW1 were mostly citizen soldiers, whose values reflected allegiance and dedication to their country.
Another reason why a nation shouldn’t forget its past is because there is a need for citizens to know when and why there were both prosperous and hard times that may have occurred in the past and how to learn from it. The only way one can learn from the past is through experience and knowing the consequences that come with the choices one makes. This is extremely important, especially when it comes to the welfare of a country. Our past shapes us to whom or what we are today. If we do not learn from our past, we will never know what prompted world war neither will we learn from our mistakes of what had happened during that horrible period. History always repeats itself, yet often we choose not to learn from it. Similarly, history also recognizes that there is far more to the past and the events that created the world we know today. An example of an event that happened in the past which made the whole world take precaution against terrorism is the September 11 attacks. This infamous tragedy is the perfect example of why we should learn from our past and never forget it. This particular incident showed all countries how well terrorists were trained and could coordinate simultaneous attacks and their willingness to target civilians indiscriminately and die for their cause. The attacks brought the entire US to a standstill and left a huge psychological and economic impact on the world, making other countries aware that terrorism is a big threat that is to be well guarded against. It is important that society plays its part to counter such extremist influences portrayed by terrorists that they are willing to sacrifice their lives and the lives of others just to let the world know that terrorism is a threat not to be dealt with. Therefore we should not forget our past as the September 11 attacks serve to warn us that terrorism is a dangerous threat globally and we should be prepared against it.
Another reason that we should not forget our nation’s history is because one should learn about past human behavior that is significant to the intellectual growth and development of an individual and a nation. Studying the events of the past can give us a better understanding of how the world came to be, not only in your country but around the world including all cultures as well as nature. By learning about the causes and effects of events in history, people understand better ways to deal with disharmony among nations and individuals. Take for example, Venice used to be a prosperous country between the 9th and the 15th century due to many reasons, one being that it had capable leaders. Leaders were elected based on their own qualities and were constantly checked on to ensure that there was no corruption or dictatorship. Good governance led to effective policies implemented which led to their rise. Capable leaders would not offend their neighboring countries and would see the need to form strong diplomatic ties with others. Capable leaders will also know that it is best to strengthen the country’s diplomatic relations such as actively participating in regional ASEAN and the UN. To work with the UN against transnational terrorism and aggression. Venice’s past serves as an example of how Singapore’s government should govern. We are to learn from other countries past and not just from our own if we want to see our nation prosper.
In conclusion, I disagree to a large extent that a nation should forget its past as our past shapes us to be the prosperous country that we are today. In order to succeed, we have to learn from the mistakes that we or other countries may have committed in the past and learn from the consequences that came with it in order to avoid a similar situation now. As the saying goes ‘those who forget their past are doomed to repeat it’ and in my opinion, a nation should not forget its past.

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