He didn’t have any use for history because he never expected to meet it again

From A Late Encounter with the Enemy in Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man is Hard to Find.

She meant to stand on that platform in August with the General sitting in his wheel chair on the stage behind her and she meant to hold her head very high as if she were saying, “See him! See him! My kin, all you upstarts! Glorious upright old man standing for the old traditions! Dignity! Honor! Courage! See him!” One night in her sleep she screamed, “See him! See him!” and turned her head and found him sitting in his wheel chair behind her with a terrible expression on his face and with all his clothes off except the general’s hat and she had waked up and had not dared to go back to sleep again that night.

For his part, the General would not have consented even to attend her graduation if she had not promised to see to it that he sit on the stage. He liked to sit on any stage. He considered that he was still a very handsome man. When he had been able to stand up, he had measured five feet four inches of pure game cock. He had white hair that reached to his shoulders behind and he would not wear teeth because he thought his profile was more striking without them. When he put on his full-dress general’s uniform, he knew well enough that there was nothing to match him anywhere.

This was not the same uniform he had worn in the War between the States. He had not actually been a general in that war. He had probably been a foot soldier; he didn’t remember what he had been; in fact, he didn’t remember that war at all. It was like his feet, which hung down now shriveled at the very end of him, without feeling, covered with a blue-gray afghan that Sally Poker had crocheted when she was a little girl. He didn’t remember the Spanish-American War in which he had lost a son; he didn’t even remember the son. He didn’t have any use for history because he never expected to meet it again. To his mind, history was connected with processions and life with parades and he liked parades.