Reverence for the past and its principal actors tends to be universal and they become heroic figures to posterity in the passage of time.
We Americans know too little of the doings of the people of past generations who lived their lives in our several localities. We all know that the “Red Man” once lived here, hunting and fishing for a living and constantly engaging in inter-tribal wars. We know that in New York State the “White Man,” our forbears, followed them, first the Dutchman and afterward the Englishman. These pioneers selected land for their farms and bore the hardships of an isolated and primitive life with the wild beasts always and the Indians often as enemies.
They finally fought a war with their kinsmen across the seas to establish their right to live their own lives in their own way without interference from the homeland. They made a new government that has served as a model for the entire world since.
This knowledge is vague enough with most of us but it is so generally diffused that it unifies the country in the consciousness of a common origin, a common surmounting of dangers and a common destiny. It makes for a patriotic citizenry.
When this knowledge is supplemented by adequate information concerning the history of country, state and their subdivisions down to the story of the neighborhood’s traditional hero, the patriotic reaction is deeper; resulting from the knowledge of these old time individuals’ doings that have a far-reaching effect on posterity for different reasons.
It is a high duty for each generation of men to record its own doings in order that those of the future may use them as a guide for emulation or avoidance.