This paper examines historical consciousness on the Greek island of Kalymnos. It looks at how Kalymnians reconstruct their past, and how they use their reconstruction to make sense of and argue about the meaning of their present. It examines the intersecting time-lines of religious, national and local history on Kalymnos, and the use of the same key symbols and themes in narrating these histories on a personal level, and in commemorating them on a local and national level. Such histories display a number of common themes, such as that of struggle against overwhelming odds, whether that struggle is of Greek national heroes fighting oppressors (or their own dictators) or Orthodox martyrs giving their lives for Christianity. Narratives of national, religious and personal histories are drawn on a common stock of themes and tropes in order to make sense of the past and relate it to the struggles of the present. At the same time prevalent metaphors directly connect the national and the local in everyday speech. Through this tying together of national, religious and local experience, “history” becomes part of the common sense of everyday Kalymnian life and interpretation of the world.