It has been said that those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it.
That’s generally interpreted as being a bad thing. It is assumed that only the tragic mistakes of history are prone to repetition by the ignorant masses.
But the good stuff gets repeated, too.
Looking back through history today, Aug. 9, offers a couple of fine examples.
It was on this day in 1945 that the Americans dropped the second of two atomic bombs produced in a concerted effort (popularly known as the Manhattan Project) by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
The Aug. 9 bomb laid waste to the city of Nagasaki in what has been, so far, the world’s only nuclear war.
This was a bad thing.
Indeed, it was a bad thing that we all should remember forever and ever, because it’s a part of history that no rational person would ever want to have repeated.
The trouble is that, on this current Aug. 9, there seems to be a lot of forgetfulness happening.
There are now a number of world leaders with access to similar weaponry, and several who have bolstered themselves with gullible followers, and who appear to be exhibiting symptoms of serious memory loss. Instead of rattling their sabres – behaviour that is quite memorably dangerous – some of them have been rattling red buttons at each other.
Replacement of memories by “alternative facts” has become widespread enough to believe that history itself is being twisted into a new shape in which pushing one of those red buttons is no longer unimaginable.
Fortunately, an Aug. 9 subsequent to that horrific one in 1945 also offers an example that, looking from today’s vantage, might be worth repeating.
It was on this day in 1974 that Richard Milhous (Not a Crook!) Nixon tendered his resignation from the office of the President of the United States of America.
True, Nixon didn’t like Pierre Trudeau much… but he didn’t publicly slag Canada and all his European allies and start trade wars with them while making cooing sounds at his country’s pre-eminent enemies. And he didn’t even throw sparks at North Korea’s dynamite.
For those who take numerical coincidences seriously, consider the following.
The Americans waged their nuclear war in ’45… the number of their current president.
Nixon resigned in ’74… Donald Trump’s age when and if he seeks re-election in 2020.