The 25 year-old babe looked puzzled when a man mentioned the legendary actor, Marlin Brando. It was Oscar time and his name was mentioned because he was an acting icon. A giant among actors in America. As I noticed her funny look the 45 year-old man who brought Brando up must have noticed that look too. He asked her, “You probably have no clue who Marlin Brando was, do you?” She blushed and exclaimed, “No, I’m only 25 years-old!” This got me to thinking.

Brando, in his day, which really wasn’t that long ago, was a living legend. In his youth, he was considered Mr. Handsome and a heartthrob to millions of women. At about that same time he was also considered a great actor. As he got a bit older, he continued on as one of the most sought after movie stars around and made millions for the roles he played. And who could forget, The Godfather! One of the most revered movies of all time. Well, I guess that 25 year-old forgot the movie! Actually, she probably didn’t forget it—she probably never knew about it. Or if she knew about it she had no clue about its most famous actor; Marlin Brando. And thus the heart of this article.

People get old. People die. And people forget about them. Famous actors, famous athletes, famous leaders and just average people like you and me. People who have saved lives, fought in wars, raised loving and happy children and people who really made marks in the world. People who’ve said great words of wisdom, people who have brought class and knowledge to comedy, acting and people who’ve helped millions through great acts or great leadership.

How many people under 30 would know these movie superstars who’ve touched that industry to its core: James Stewart, Lauren Bacall, James Cagney, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart or Alfred Hitchcock? Or how many would know these great wartime leaders of the past who’ve made huge differences to millions: Douglas MacArthur, Winston Churchill, George Patton and Dwight Eisenhower? Not many, I’m afraid.

It’s normal to let the past fade away. However, it’s so important to get out of our present bubbles and get involved in the past. Like watching old movies and seeing the outstanding masters of conveying emotion and life’s possibilities through the grand medium of movies. It’s also so important to know the great leaders of the past who’ve helped save millions of lives and whom imparted grand levels of wisdom to humanity, wisdom that will never fade away. It is plain wrong to let so many great people fade away from us. To not know and be a part of all they were about.

Know the past. It’ll enrich your life. Know the great personalities of times gone by. It will make you smarter and perhaps more importantly, it will help you smile easier in life and also to be wiser in the ways of the world. Importantly, do not let your parents, grandparents, family and friends fade away. Remember their unique touch on humanity. A touch that can last forever, if you let it. You owe it to them, but most importantly, you owe it to yourself.

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