We live in a world where heroes are recognized daily for a multitude of reasons. Many kind and dedicated people come to mind. For some individuals an article is written, others have gatherings in their honor, and still others of stature may be on television or featured in a movie describing their exploits and genealogical history. Each day millions of heroes are being overlooked without fanfare or recognition for the lives they are living and the sacrificing they do for others. Who are these forgotten heroes? Let’s focus on those every day people who have lived a full life or those up in years who have contributed to their family and society. But the average person, for the most part, never chronicles the story of their life. They never had an opportunity to tell others what life was like for them; their struggles, their failures, their successes, their hopes, dreams, their desire for the future, and what others meant to them. Families and friends are deprived of stories that would build character and add to the family history. As we age many of our stories fade, and in today’s society few people care about those who paved the road of life for them. We need to stop and smell the roses and take note of the personal heritage that we have. It is time to take a moment and listen to those family members or friends who wish to tell their stories and share a lifetime of experiences. We can learn and grow from the past. Whether we tell our story, write it down, or record it, it helps us get closer to those we care about and love. This life story is a door to the past that may never be open again.
For over thirty-five years I have videotaped life stories. It started as a hobby and expanded to a small business. I even developed the comprehensive DIY resource to video your own life story or the story of others. It is a complete outline of how to create a video life story interview for anyone who possesses a video camera. It offers answers for over one hundred questions and possesses many audio and video techniques. I have given hundreds of CDs to people, and many comment, “I wish I would have done it, they are all gone now.”
How long will the story of mom, dad, grandpa, and grandma be silenced to the ages? In two generations it is as though they never lived, with the exception of an obituary, a family Bible, or a tombstone. Of course, we do not think of ourselves as heroes in the greater sense, but in the eyes of others we may deserve a hero’s story telling. The life story could be a video class project, a family reunion, a video genealogy, or a tribute to an aged one that could ignite a whole new interest in the past. Who will hear this call? Who will hear the forgotten voice in the crowd of life saying on video, “I lived, I existed, I need to share my legacy.” It is my hope for the future that life history video recording centers will spring up across the globe along with catalogues of life stories. I also hope someday that life history video recordings will be in a holographic video format. What a treasure that would be for our future! Whether we admit it or not, at some point we all become a part of the forgotten. Will we preserve the past, learn, and build upon it? Or will those precious life stories fade away like the setting sun?
The time to decide is now.