The Dust Bin of History

Have you ever thought about how many people have ever lived on earth and how few names are remembered?  No one knows how many humans have ever lived, but one web site I checked said they estimate 100 billion humans have walked the surface of the earth throughout human history.   Other estimates are much more conservative – a lot depends on your assumptions.  Any way you look at it, most of those humans have lived…and died…in obscurity.  They walked the length of their days under the same sun, and looked up in wonder at the same moon (to borrow some phrases from Neil Diamond) and all or nearly all, came to the end thinking it was ending too soon.

Few people in history have their names carved in granite to be remembered for generations to come.  Moses, Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great, Augustus Caesar, St. Augustine, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Washington, Lincoln, Hitler, Neil Armstrong are a few of the names that are, or will be, remembered for a long, long time.  But what about Galen Dalrymple?  I am under no illusions that when I pass I will be remembered for long.  My children will remember, my grandchildren will remember.  But great grandchildren?  There it starts to get a bit fuzzy.  I have to struggle to recall the names of my great-grandparents (who I never met).  Beyond that I need a lot of help to keep names and generations in the right place.

Does that disturb me?  No.  Not in the least.  I recognize my place in history and am content with it.  I will be relegated to the “dust bin of history” along with most of the 100 billion others.  I’m cool with that.  It’s been a whale of a ride so far and I expect and hope to finish it strong!  I hope we all can get to that point in our lives and be cheered with the decisions we made, those we loved, and what we made of our lives!

This picture was taken in a dusty corner of an old shed.  It shows artifacts from the past that have been covered with dust, forgotten…but which were once useful and treasured.   And after all, isn’t that what it is about – being useful and treasured while we are alive?  I hope to treasure those around me as I should.  Love, the great apostle said, never fails, never will go away…it will be around forever, long after names and faces are forgotten.

_MG_3063ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: On this day in 1945, the USS Indianapolis is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sinks within minutes in shark-infested waters. Only 317 of the 1,196 men on board survived. However, the Indianapolis had already completed its major mission: the delivery of key components of the atomic bomb that would be dropped a week later at Hiroshima to Tinian Island in the South Pacific.

Shortly after midnight on July 30, halfway between Guam and Leyte Gulf, a Japanese sub blasted the Indianapolis, sparking an explosion that split the ship and caused it to sink in approximately 12 minutes, with about 300 men trapped inside. Another 900 went into the water, where many died from drowning, shark attacks, dehydration or injuries from the explosion. Help did not arrive until four days later, on August 2, when an anti-submarine plane on routine patrol happened upon the men and radioed for assistance.

In the aftermath of the events involving the Indianapolis, the ship’s commander, Captain Charles McVay, was court-martialed in November 1945 for failing to sail a zigzag course that would have helped the ship to evade enemy submarines in the area. McVay, the only Navy captain court-martialed for losing a ship during the war, committed suicide in 1968. Many of his surviving crewmen believed the military had made him a scapegoat. In 2000, 55 years after the Indianapolis went down, Congress cleared McVay’s name.

The story of the Indianapolis was made famous in the movie Jaws, where the crusty old shark fisherman (Robert Shaw playing the role of Quint) tells the story of having been on the ship when it sank and how terrible it was as those in the water were killed by sharks.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: each year, the moon moves two inches further away from earth.  At this rate, I may never get there!!!!



One thought on “The Dust Bin of History

  1. Very interesting post, I suppose it’s the nature of the numbers and survival of the fittest. Not everyone can be immortalized by history just the ones that stick in the heads of the ones passing on their legacy.

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