Rabbi Sacks points to the essential value of National Memory. Without it, we lose track of who we are.
I would add that this is why invaders and conquerors seek to destroy and usurp the cultural symbols and resources of their prey. A nation that does not hold anything precious has nothing worth defending, and will submit.
“In today’s fast-moving culture, we undervalue acts of remembering. Computer memories have grown, while ours have become foreshortened. Our children no longer memorize chunks of poetry. Their knowledge of history is often all too vague. Our sense of space has expanded. Our sense of time has shrunk. That cannot be right. One of the greatest gifts we can give to our children is the knowledge of where we have come from, the things for which we fought, and why.”
“A society without memory is like a journey without a map. It’s all too easy to get lost.”
“None of the things we value – freedom, human dignity, justice – were achieved without a struggle. None can be sustained without conscious vigilance. A society without memory is like a journey without a map. It’s all too easy to get lost.”