I was listening to a radio program on the way home about “Restoring
America.” Rev. Peter Marshall was one of the speakers.
This is a quote from his message, “Americans are in the midst of
a grave and growing crisis--we are losing our national memory! The polls
taken of our high school and college-age young people indicate that
their knowledge of American history is beyond abysmal--the ignorance is
overwhelming. For example, in a recent American history telephone survey
of more than 500 college seniors at 55 of the best universities in the
country, conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the
University of Connecticut, only 23 percent of college seniors correctly
identified James Madison as the ‘Father of the Constitution,’ but 98
percent knew that Snoop Doggy Dog is a rapper.
The multiple choice questions were on topics ranging from the Magna
Carta to the Monroe Doctrine, from the Battle of Yorktown to the Battle
of the Bulge. Sixty-five percent of the students--from such schools as
Yale, Northwestern, Smith, and Bowdoin--failed to ‘pass’ the test and
only one student answered all 34 questions correctly. Ninety-nine
percent of the respondents correctly identified Beavis and Butthead.
Forty-three percent identified the Declaration of Independence as
the source of the phrase, ‘Government of the people, by the people, for
the people.’ Sixty-three percent did not know during which war the
Battle of the Bulge was fought. Twenty-three percent thought it was John
F. Kennedy who said, ‘I only regret that I have but one life to lose for
Most troubling were quotations from Woodrow Wilson and Karl Marx:
Wilson said, “A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday
does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do.” Marx, the
father of Communism, said, “Take away the heritage of a people, and they
are easily persuaded.”
This is very true.
Calhoun Historical Society is working hard to preserve the heritage
of Calhoun County by its work at Heritage Village and Stump Hotel.
Interest is overwhelming at Heritage Village. Tours are being scheduled
every week. Jim Bell and Robert Bonar have led tours for children,
reunion groups, families who are touring historic sites in West
Virginia, and even a group in wheel chairs. More tour guides are needed
for the fall season.
The Society receives gifts of artifacts periodically to be
displayed. One of the latest gifts, the Stevens sugar bowl, was from Joy
Morgan Stevens. The bowl is over 150 years old. It will be displayed at
the Stevens School, because it belonged to the family that founded the
school. Joy and her husband Bob were charter members of Calhoun
Historical Society. Their interest in local history is never-ending and
the society extends its appreciation to Mrs. Stevens for sharing their
Gifts of labor, financial support and artifacts will help the
Historical Society preserve the story of Calhoun County. An outsider
will not have the same excitement or sense of fulfillment. Let’s instill
this in our children.