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When Faces Become Numbers

I’ve heard a history teacher once teach her students the importance of personalizing individuals in history books. She explains the approximate numbers of casualties most history books provide in which become unclear pictures of the event as numbers of casualties or deaths comes into the millions, we lose the few hundreds or few one-digits that we should count. Every life matters, but why are we forgetting the importance of these individuals? Is it because when there isn’t a face to a person, we often ignore the lesser numbers we see as “extra”?

Even the most infamous event that everyone acknowledges, the Holocaust, has unexact numbers of deaths. When you walk through the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., you will see pictures of the victims of the Holocaust mounted on the walls. You can definitely pinpoint an area and start counting the number of pictures on the walls, but when we reach the thousands, the millions, and in some cases the billions, each faces, each deaths become more vague. Names and faces who are not included in the records become even more unrecognizable as numbers. And because we don’t see the long list of millions of names of people who were mass murdered, instead we see it chunked into a rounded-up number of 6, 12, or even more millions, we often forget how sad and tragic it was for the individuals.

While sitting through that history teacher’s unforgettable lesson, I have come to realize how easily a human being can be forgotten from earth. We need to show more compassion, more awareness to the people around us. I know I surely don’t want to disappear from the face of his earth without anyone noticing.


Photography by MP

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington D.C.


15 thoughts on “When Faces Become Numbers

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  1. This is so very true! That’s how I see social media, sometimes. The higher that number becomes, the possibility of becoming another face or number gets higher. We lose sight of many of the people around us and miss out on their stories and the messages given. Really awesome post, my friend! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I absolutely agree with your connection to social media… I liked how you used the term “lose sight” of the people around us! When individuals become numbers, they are no longer who they are and it’s sad that this happens! Thanks for your comment, really appreciate your time visiting πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog. It brought me here. I love your words, your sweetness and compassion. Your commenting on the macro and taking us to the micro – our own life. Beautiful. Thank you! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When you see pictures and names of victims of horrendous events in history the realization that they also were individuals makes it more personal. You realize that they had a life and people who loved them. I absolutely agree. It is very easy to be remembered as a part of a group and not an individual. That is probably why I always love getting to know new people. I want them to know that their story matters. I especially love talking to older individuals because they have lived and experienced so much. One of my biggest fears is that my life will be remembered as just another human who lived and walked this earth and then died. I want to leave behind a legacy that is timeless. Even if it is only my friends and family that know my story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very beautiful words you used to describe the importance of the worth of individuals. It’s definitely importance for us to take advantage of the opportunities we have in life to get to know people more personally instead of seeing them as part of number of people we add to our life. We are so unique that every one of us can leave behind traces of our existence in different ways but it does take determination and proactiveness to make a difference. But seeing how much you value people’s stories, I’m sure people around you value your life story as well πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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