11 September 2007

We Shall Not Forget


"We shall not forget."

"United We Stand."

Remember those bumper stickers and T-shirts? The ribbons and yellow magnets? The store signs and the moments of silence? The American flag on every other house and car? The days when, if it was a flat surface, it had a flag on it? Do we remember?




Our school had a moment of silence today, and it was less than 10 seconds long. I thought I would have time to say a prayer, but no dice. I guess the silence just gets too heavy for some people...

I insist that I'm no better than the rest of them. Even I managed to forget what day it was, and my patriotic shirts remained in their color-coded position in my closet. I feel as if I managed to forget the promise I made to myself the first time I went to Ground Zero, when I promised to do all in my power to keep 9/11 from happening again. That promise meant the world to me, but where is it now?

And sometimes I think, "What can one girl like me ever do to stop a monstrosity like 9/11?"

When those towers fell, and that plane crashed, and those walls crumbled in Arlington, a monster was revealed for all the world to see. At the time, we knew the face of evil; hate mongers who would kill innocent people. Osama bin Laden drove our Orwellian Two Minutes of Hate, and we loathed and despised him for everything he represented to us. We swore in our hearts that we would never forget the face of the enemy. We promised ourselves that justice would be served.

I ask myself today, where are all of those promises now?

Tucked away in closets like old t-shirts that come out three times a year; Memorial Day, the 4th, and 9/11, if at all?

The hijackers of the 9/11 suicide flights sought to unleash a monster upon us. Our country was supposed to divide, crumble, and fall. Chaos was supposed to descend upon us like a plague. And because that never happened, we assumed we were safe. We returned to our lives, and the flags came down. The yellow ribbons became tattered. The bumper stickers became the empty promises that they are today. And in our state of complacency, we see the true enemy. And it's closer to home than we ever imagined.

I have met too many soldiers to ever believe that this war is not worth fighting. Wars may be started by Machiavellian leadership, but do they fight the battles? No. I wonder, at times like these, if the war that our leaders have declared is the same war that our soldiers are fighting. I wonder if the Iraq that we hear about in the media (the hopeless, lost cause that is the United States biggest failure since Vietnam,) is the same Iraq that is free of Hussein; free of the sons who raped the women of a ravaged nation; free to speak for themselves under their own constitution; free to pick themselves up as soon as they gather their strength; free to become the peaceful nation, a fresh start, for the Middle East.

I try hard not to think about how disappointed our Father in Heaven must be with us at times when He sees how we treat each other. Today of all days, two boys got into a fight as I was trying to get on the bus to go home. I couldn't continue walking for fear of being caught in the middle of their brawl, so I stood and watched with disappointed eyes.

"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Luke 23: 34)

We were told, "Love one another; as I have loved you." (John 13: 34-5) And in 2000 years, how many of our brothers and sisters have remembered this "new commandment"?

Not enough.

If we ever want to grow beyond yellow ribbons, our fathers and mothers dying in battlefields, our brothers throwing punches, and our children living in an age of fear and violence, we have to start applying what we have learned! We need to remember what we have been taught long enough to use it!

Otherwise, our hope will be the next casualty; in which case, we will all be held accountable:

"Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me." (Matthew 25: 45)

Remember?

2 comments:

  1. This was well written! So often we all struggle to hold on to our comittments. Whether it be the best of intentions when starting out with a new diet and work out plan, the strong testimony of a new convert, or the stary eyed love of first infatuation...the promises are sincere when made, yet too often fade over time.

    That's what I love about being able to take the sacrament. Each week I can be reminded of the sacred baptisimal covenants and begin those promises all over again!

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  2. I love music, but I generally was disappointed in what was produced about 9/11. The exception was one particular song that focused not just on remembering the event but, more importantly, our own experiences when it happened - and what we needed to do at the most fundamental level to remember and learn from it.

    The song is "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning" by Alan Jackson. I was in a crowded room, staring at a TV, feeling completely alone - exactly as was expressed in one line of the song. I remember crying openly as I watched that song being performed for the first time on television (to absolute silence except for sobs in front of thousands) - and tearing up again on Tuesday hearing it again on the radio.

    My favorite part is the chorus:

    "I'm just a singer of simple songs; I'm not a real political man. I watch CNN, but I'm not sure I can tell you the difference 'tween Iraq and Iran. But I know Jesus, and I talk to God, and I remember this from when I was young. Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us - and the greatest is love."

    I think we commemorate the event best if we learn from it and allow Him to fill our hearts more fully with love.

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