Hindsight can only truly be 20/20 if we are given the necessary space to find the language to describe our grief and our triumphs. It can only truly be 20/20 if we are honest with each other and ourselves about how the experience has, or has not, impacted us. And it can only be truly 20/20 if we stop to listen to the experiences of others.
The first trip by myself to Galveston gave me the chance to do research on activities our family could do on a return to the island. We’ve taken family down to the coast before, enjoying time on the beach at the state park and walking around the small downtown area to look at shops, but that had been the extent of our family explorations. I wanted our return to the island to be a continuation of the historical journey I began by myself.
Our stop through Arkansas Post was unexpected, but as I’ve said many times before, I’m constantly working to accept the unexpected in my life. We were happy that we beat the rain and still got to learn some obscure history about both Arkansas and the Civil War.
But I wanted to explore the history of the Island, something the rest of my family is less interested in doing, so I decided to take some time to explore it myself. I had a small window (nothing opens until 10 and I wanted to be home in time to pick up the kids from school), so I had to be selective and move fast. That really only allowed me to explore in-depth a couple locations as I walked around the historic district and took in the sights, but this is what I was able to see.
It was our halfway point on the way to Palo Duro Canyon. Established in 1867, Fort Richardson was a major outpost in the complicated history of the relationship between Plains indigenous tribes and the U.S. Calvary. The fort was in full use for 11 years, serving as base camp for many of the conflicts between the U.S. government and native tribes who refused to be forced into giving up their land or lifestyle. Today, visitors can see several of the outbuildings in addition to hiking or biking the many trails throughout the state park, including the nine-mile Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway.
I look at the United States today. I look at the world my children are growing up in and I ask myself which side of history I want to be on. Our country and our world have been through difficult times. The more history I study, the more I see the patterns and cycles and the hope at the end of each tunnel. But I also recognize the importance of being on the right side of history as it is happening. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran pastor who was executed after his involvement in a failed assassination attempt against Adolf Hitler, stated “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” It is a weighty truth that challenges me every time I consider the many issues facing us today.