The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002 Page: 342
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
"Our nation, this generation, will lift the dark threat of violence from our peo-
ple and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our
courage. We will not tire, we will not falter and we will not fail."
-President George W. Bush, September 20o, 2001oo
The terrible attacks on the United States on the morning of September
i 1, 2oo001, will mark our lives and the life of our nation forever. Many com-
mentators have pointed out the similarities between them and the Japan-
ese attack on Pearl Harbor almost sixty years ago, so as we were preparing
to go to press with this issue of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, we
looked back through past issues, to January 1942 (pages 258-259), where
we came upon "A Memorandum to the Historians of Texas," written by E.
C. Barksdale, a member of the TSHA staff at that time and later the long-
time chair of the Department of History at North Texas Agricultural Col-
lege (now the University of Texas at Arlington). As historians, we feel that
these words, written in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor, are as true
today as they were then. And, as citizens, we know that we must face the
trials of our day as resolutely as did the men and women of "the greatest
A Memorandum to the Historians of Texas
by E. C. Barksdale
"These," wrote Thomas Paine one hundred and sixty-six years ago, "are times
that try men's souls." Today again the soul of the American people is tested in the
crucible of war; the nation faces its gravest hour, its gravest years. Our ideology,
our beliefs, our dreams, the way we think, do, and eat are at stake.
The history of the United States has been the history of obstacles overcome.
The tiny groups at Plymouth and Jamestown, the embattled rabble at Concord
and Camden, the bonneted and buckskinned clearers of the forest, the prairie
schooner pushing its way indomitably into the plains, the tall men who walked
down the road to their Gethsemane in the Alamo and at Goliad-theirs has been
the story of magnificent struggle against almost matchless odds. That story, writ-
ten in toil, travail, and tears, is our predicate for the present and for tomorrow.
Our hope for the future depends on the strength of the structure we have build-
ed in the past.
Such observations lead us logically and inevitably to the question: "What today
is the duty of the Texas State Historical Association?" This question is best an-
swered, in the words of a Texas school man when someone objected to his orga-
nization of a chapter of the Junior Historians. "This," said the critic, "is no time for
school expansional programs; this is no time for historical organizations." "Sure-
ly," replied the educator, "no better time can exist. If a knowledge of our history
is not important now, when, then, will it be important? We must instill in the
minds and the hearts of every youngster in this republic knowledge, love, and re-
spect for our heroic heritage."
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/m1/372/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.