The Vermillion Rotary Club held its weekly meeting Tuesday, March 27, at the Neuharth Center on the campus of USD. President Roger Kozak opened the meeting and Rev. Mercy Hobbs gave the invocation.
Among the guests introduced at the meeting were Bruce King and Rev. Karen Garrison, as well as three Vermillion High School seniors: Nick Schaffer, Shannon Robinet and Ryan Scheidel.
Jack Marsh from the Freedom Forum introduced the guest speaker, Dr. John David Smith, a noted historian from the University of North Carolina. Dr. Smith was on campus to deliver the Herb Schell Lecture on American History. The title of his address to the Rotarians was "What Historians Do and Why It Matters."
Dr. Smith began his presentation with a quote from Arthur Schlesinger that "History is to the nation as memory is to the individual." He also said that historians live in their own age and thus must be aware that they have their own bias.
As an example of how history affects the future, he noted the profound effect of the movement towards women's right and civil rights in the last century and today.
One of the duties of historians is to get history right. Historians have to ask the right questions, do research as carefully as possible, and draw the right conclusions. They must be faithful and honest in their interpretation of history.
In addition to getting the facts right, historians are obligated to acknowledge the work of others, which they choose to support their conclusions. Even if the "borrowed" words are in common use, the historian must think long and hard about when something should be acknowledged.
The process of writing history presents an ongoing set of moral questions, which must be answered as honestly as possible. There are many instances where historians may have misread or misused sources.
Historians don't have to re-invent the wheel each time. Mistakes are common but historians must recognize the difference between inadvertent mistakes and lapses in judgement when using sources.
Precision and careful analysis is required. If research assistants are involved, it is up to the historian to monitor them closely. Ultimately, the historian is responsible for the end work. This historians needs to maintain quality control.
Such diligence is required because historians owe it to the readers, others historians, and, indeed, to the nation itself.
ELCA women meet at center
Women of the ELCA from Trinity Lutheran Church met on Thursday, March 22, at 2 p.m. at Sanford Vermillion Car Center. WELCA's Esther Circle hosted the meeting, an annual tradition.
Glennis Stewart, Esther Circle chair, introduced program participants. Glendae Anderson gave a devotional reading and offered prayer. Cindy Knutson, Trinity's preschool director and teacher, and Cristi McClelland, preschool assistant teacher, prepared the musical program presented by their pupils. The children delighted center residents and guests with their activity songs. After their program, the children introduced themselves and then walked about the dining room to shake hands with members of the audience.
Following the program, members of the Esther Circle served refreshments, and center residents and WELCA members visited with one another.
Women of the ELCA now look forward to the Southeast Conference Spring Gathering on Saturday, April 28.