34 years ago

The above photograph was taken 34 years ago, when I traveled to Washington, D.C. for Mahopac High’s freshman class trip to learn about the mechanisms of government.

I don’t remember tons from the five-day stay. Fleeting, fuzzy images. A sorta luxury bus ferrying us down and back. Donna Massaro and the other big-haired dimwits cutting the line at Luby’s Cafeteria. Walking up the steps of the Capitol and posing for the photo in the brisk D.C. fall winds. Sharing a hotel room with (I believe) Steve Celli and John Messina. Um … yeah. That’s about it.

But here’s what I was pondering tonight, as I stared down the image: Of the 330 or so youngsters in the image, how many voted for Donald Trump in the last election? How many owned MAGA hats and MAGA gear? Most important, how many saw the U.S. Capitol under attack and thought, “Meh”? How many looked at the steps—those very steps—and cheered the men and women who climbed them, flags and guns and poles in hand?

See, it’s easy to be told things.

It’s easy to learn.

It’s even easy to regurgitate.

But to absorb the lessons of the past … to remember them.

That’s the trick.