Nothing helps us appreciate history more than living through history ourselves. Back in 1786, most of the enlisted men based at Fort Steuben did not realize or even think about the fact that they were living in a historical era - a time that would one day be recalled and studied through letters, documents, artifacts and literature. But today, those of us living through this COVID-19 pandemic do have a sense that this is a historic moment, a time that will change many of our institutions, our culture and our sense of what it means to be human and a member of the human community.
History records many plagues and disasters over the centuries; but never have we been able to document the details of each day and the effects on ordinary people as we can today through modern communications and social media. The photos that have been published from the deadly flu of 1917-1918 or the polio epidemic of the 1950's put us in touch with a part of history we may have ignored or forgotten. This current pandemic connects us with the past and underscores again the importance of preserving, studying and learning from history.
We at Historic Fort Steuben have focused on a particular time in the formation of the United States. We have benefitted from the wonderful records that were kept in order to understand and then recreate that period for everyone to experience. We encourage you to keep a journal or photo record that can be donated to the local historical society or the Library of Congress so that today's experiences can serve to guide future generations. And we ask you to continue to support those organizations institutions which preserve and document our history, including Historic Fort Steuben. Thank you for helping Historic Fort Steuben as we are "keeping history alive!"