As I was watching the inauguration of Barak Obama today, I was struck by how many times he talked about those who came before us. He talked about our ancestors and the struggles they endured so that we can live here today. He remembered those who died so that we may be free. He helped us remember all of our ancestors whose work led to this moment that we can enjoy in history.
This is why I do genealogy. I believe that I am the sum result of those who came before me. I have privileges and freedoms because of those before me. Because of their sacrifices, I have a better life.
When I was participating in the 5 mile hike a few days ago that retraced a portion of the 2,000 mile march of the Mormon Battalion, their sacrifice weighed heavily on my mind. I thought of all the inconveniences that I felt I was enduring, no restroom, it was sorta hot, I was hungry, etc...and thought of those ancestors who came across the plains not knowing what they would run into or even if they would live to see the end of their journey.
I am here because of them. It's the least I can do to research their lives and learn about them. It means more than birth and death dates, it means knowing them. They deserve at least that.
I know that for many who are interested in genealogy, they do not pursue it because of the perceived time commitment. Yes, it can be addictive, yes it can take a lot of time. In fact it can result in a life's pursuit. But there are those who came before us and kept going because one day we would be here. We are the living proof of their life's work. They deserve to be remembered.