Published by Karl V. Kimball
During a recent trip to Washington DC to take in the sights, I was reminded of how very rich our nation’s past is and how important that history is when interpreting current events and informing us as to how we should move toward the future.
The memorials to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are reminders of men who took immense risk on the principles of freedom and self-government. They, along with other leaders at the time, were among the wealthiest people in the colonies who put their personal fortunes and their very lives on the line for the sake of the common good. From these great men we are bestowed a powerful truth that we must think outside of ourselves and consider how we might use our time, talent and resources for the benefit of others.
The memorials to Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are stunning and provide us with compelling lessons. Dr. King taught us that thoughtful, respectful and peaceful activism is far more effective than simple protest in pursuing change. Dr. King offered the vision of what he hoped for, rather than railing about what he was against. FDR led our nation through the recovery from its most prolonged and deepest economic crisis. His comments, etched in the walls of the memorial, espouse the dignity of all forms of work, the importance of perseverance through all difficulty and the role government should play in making opportunity available to all people.
The World War II Memorial and the Holocaust Museum are stark reminders of perhaps the darkest period of the 20th century. From these memorials we learn of the immense strength of our nation when it is unified behind a common goal and to be ever vigilant of and responsive to the human rights of oppressed people. The years following that war are lessons in rebuilding and collaboration.
My trip to Washington DC served as a reminder of what history teaches us about the economy and the investment markets. Times of boom and recession come and go….neither last forever. Boom times are fun for sure, while times of economic crisis are unsettling. History teaches us to be wise stewards in times of prosperity so that we can avoid panic and poor decisions when recession comes.
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