“Our memory is the thread of our personal identity; our memory liberates us from what Melanchthon, Luther’s colleague, called perpetual childhood. Without our past we have no present or future.” Carter Lindberg, The European Reformations, 2nd Ed, p. 2
Lindberg compares the role that memory plays in the formation of one’s personal identity to history’s role in the formation of public identity. What if you suddenly could not remember siginificant facts about your life? How would it change your identity? Would it change your actions or beliefs?
Apply that notion to your family, friendships, community, city or nation. Without a partial understanding of a common history then no common identity exists either.