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updated: 4/17/2017 10:32 AM

Lesson of history: Lead to stop suffering

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Why is history important? I'm a student at Elk Grove High School, and I've often asked myself, "Why learn about the past?" After all, it's past; I'm in the present and preparing for my future. Yesterday, an answer struck me. When I turned on the television, what I saw wasn't a commercial, wasn't a TV show, and wasn't the weather -- I saw dead children. I heard mothers screaming helplessly, fathers scrambling desperately, pleading for help. Bodies lay frozen with hands curled and blank eyes staring. I saw a community do what it could to help one another, without the means to do so.

If this were America, the response would be huge. Help would come. But not in Syria. In Syria, outside help doesn't exist. I remembered learning about the Holocaust -- the Jewish people who went to take a shower and were led to a gas chamber instead. I remembered learning about 6 million Jews who suffered unthinkable horrors. And, I remembered how it finally ended. Help from outside came.

This is why history is important. We can learn from past mistakes. We don't need to wait for 6 million Syrians to die mercilessly; the death toll in Syria has already reached 470,000, 55,000 of them children. The time for action is now. America has more resources than most countries combined, and from those to whom much is given, much is expected. In the history of our nation, America was a world leader. I challenge our nation to lead again.

Please write your elected officials and demand action. Syrian people need help. Out of human decency and out of the responsibility we're meant to have for others, we need to help. Let's not regret indifference 6 million people later; let's learn from our mistakes. Always remember. Never forget.

Jennifer Rivera

Mount Prospect

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