There is an old proverb saying, "History repeats itself." This proverb has certainly proven itself true.
When I was younger, I did not understand that adage. Now that I have become a senior citizen, the meaning has become clear even though there are those who believe that history does not repeat itself, that the things that seem to occur are just simple coincidences.
History is the record of the past especially in context of the progress of human race. We can look at the different eras and see how the acts, events, ideas and characters of the past have shaped who we are today. We can also see how history, whether by accident or otherwise, has repeated itself.
When we look back, we can see the history of the Great Depression. In 2008, the country was again plunged into what was called a deep recession. Some economists have predicted that we will not fully recover from it for another 10 or 12 years.
When we trace the accounts of history, we notice some events and characters repeat their performance with the biggest features of those events being the same.
War and destruction have meandered through history. The causes of wars have been more or less the same almost from the start of time. Lust for power and greatness or to prove the superiority of a set of values, be it social or political in nature, are often primary causes. A lot of wars through the centuries were for economic gain.
Almost every century has seen the rise of a great leader. The reformers and leaders genuinely concerned about the condition of the society of the time have always stressed the importance of similar virtues and values.
History is made up basically of man's long struggle for survival, identity and values. The struggle has often born more than a slight resemblance to methods used and the manner adopted in such period. Such repetition of historical fact including events, ideas and acts, sometimes makes us think that there was nothing coincidental, but rather, a planned sequence leading toward a pre-destined goal.
A revelation of mistakes and pains that have worked against man's struggle for a better life tends to repeat itself and man has never learned from his past set of mistakes.
A recent example of this can be seen in Jefferson County. There is a fight over a proposed building of a CVS Pharmacy on Washington Street in Charles Town. Some argue that the pharmacy should not be built because it will interfere with the Historic Designation that Charles Town holds because of its past history. Others believe that it will not interfere with the Historic District and does not need a historic review. From 2000 to about 2007 this argument was hashed out in court battles as well as citizens protesting the tearing down of the old Jefferson County jail. In the end, the building was saved. Now it looks like the battle will be re-fought over the same issue. History does repeat itself.