I was recently having a conversation with my grandfather during my day off, and he said something that really interested me and caught my attention. He told me that my history classes may be harder and longer than they were back in his time because current-day classes have 60 more years of history than he had to work with.
To put it into context, my grandpa was in the class of 1962, here at Cherry Hill West (back when it was known as Delaware Township High School). The end of World War II was just only around a decade ago, the Vietnam War was just about to start up, John F. Kennedy was still alive and well, and Ronald Reagan was still mainly known as an actor. His history classes would only reach up to current-day events, as ours do today. He wouldn’t have learned about JFK’s assassination, or the Vietnam War then. Today, those are very huge and impactful events that have become basic knowledge to anyone living in the US. We can even just point out the most minor alteration, with Delaware Township High School now being known as Cherry Hill West.
Let’s travel roughly 60 years later, to today’s class of 2022. How much has been added to the history books since then? Ten U.S.presidents have been in office. The attacks on September 11, 2001 had happened, and the War on Terror continues on to this day. Looking past politics, the NFL championship was changed to the Super Bowl game in 1966, and it’s been the biggest game in all of sports! When my grandfather graduated high school, there hadn’t even been a Super Bowl game yet. There have been nearly 56 Super Bowl games since. The 1962 Boston Celtics were in the middle of getting their 5th championship, and today in 2021, they have 17 championship banners. Looking at the pop culture side of things, The Beatles hadn’t even released their 1st studio album, and today they are arguably the greatest and biggest band of all time. Michael Jackson was only 4 years old in 1962 and today he is one of the best-selling musicians of all time! The way society worked in the 1960s compared to the 2020s just shows how a few decades of history can really impact everything in our lives, even making changes as simple as adding a few more courses in our history classes.
What relevance does that little compare-and-contrast have to today versus the future? A lot, actually. Today’s events make tomorrow’s history books. Between the time of my grandfather’s graduation and my own, hundreds of pages of history have been written. From the time of this article to my own grandchild’s graduation, historians could add a few hundred more pages!
Think about it this way. So much can happen and change in just the course of a few months. For example, during the summer of 2020 alone, we experienced the pain of COVID-19 and the major Black Lives Matters rallies. Those two events alone have already changed society and the course of history as we know it. Now we are more aware of diversity and racism than ever. COVID made the future generation more cautious to wash their hands and stay safe in interaction. Human history changes every decade, every year, every month, every day. The things that are on the news after our graduations will be included in the pages of the school books that our children and grandchildren read.
In 2021 and 2022, today, we have the opportunity to view and participate in tomorrow’s history. What my grandfather states about there being 60 years of history between his schooling and ours is true, and it really gives insight to the fact that the clock is ticking now, and the world changes with every day, so we should watch how it impacts us and our future generation. All it truly takes is 60 years or less for major changes to be observed.