I said I would never forget. You did too, BTW. We all did.
We will never forget what happened today, we promised. We will never forget the hollow empty pit gnawing at our insides. We will never forget the hopeless and helpless feeling of waiting for the next shoe to drop.
We were all sure it wasn’t over. There had to be more planes. There must be more hijackers. This was only a small piece of a large diabolically evil plan.
The West Coast must be the next strike. Or maybe the Midwest. Another safe place, another familiar site was about to go up in flames. We were sure of it.
We won’t forget the fear, we pledged.
We won’t forget the anger. This shouldn’t happen here. We are free. We are the US of A.
“WE WON’T FORGET!” We screamed to an unknown enemy. We will chase you to the ends of the earth to execute justice for the murder of 2,977 innocents. We won’t forget!
“WE WON’T FORGET!” we yelled from the streets, Old Glory furiously waving, horns blasting, National Anthem blazing.
We Americans have been here before. Many times. We are not a people that allow injustices to go long unpunished. Not when our way of life is threatened. Not when freedom is on the line.
We have a history of holding a righteous grudge until wrongs are righted and justice is served.
Would we stand by and lay down arms when provoked? Never.
Could we surrender our freedom and our future on the altar of inaction? Not gonna happen.
We are a people that will rise from the ashes and triumph. Our strength peaks when we are knocked down. We unify as a force to be reckoned with when under attack.
We are America. We are used to conflict. We were born of great travail and sacrifice.
We will not forget.
And we haven’t. Or have we.
We remember once a year around what is currently known as Patriot Day. We remembered when we shook our heads in wonder fifteen years had passed. Fifteen years since an icky darkness blanketed Downtown Manhattan and painfully exposed the fragility of our freedom and security. We remember when the calendar reminds us that fall is almost here and the summer is quickly coming to an end.
Have we actually forgotten? Do we still remember?
Have we forgotten the people we were on 9/12? Have we forgotten how we filled our churches on 9/16, the first Sunday after 9/11? Did we forget how we were one? How we, as a nation, jelled together for a few fleeting moments after the whole world came crashing down in a fury of choking dust and smothering debris?
Have we forgotten? Do we remember?
Has the poison of political power and corruption purged from our memory any recollection of who we are as a nation? Has we allowed rogue ideals and selfish interests to cloud our resolve to bind together much like that toxic fog that covered Ground Zero?
Have we forgotten?
What of our blessed founding document and the unalienable rights our Forefathers held so dearly? Rights not granted by the power of a state or of a group of elite individuals, but those granted solely by Our Benevolent Creator. Have we over educated ourselves beyond the genius of the Founders of our Union? Have we forgotten the timeless principles and hunger for freedom that drove a seemingly irrational ragtag group of Colonial rebels to defy the King of the world’s greatest superpower? Not only defy him, but triumph victorious and ultimately free.
Have we forgotten?
Have we disregarded the progress our nation has made in the last seventy years regarding race relations in exchange for a false narrative and an unbalanced desire for a justice that relies on paid organized protest that the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement of the last century would never condone nor support? No, they would denounce and detest even its existence.
Have we forgotten?
Has our greed and lust for wealth and our desire to outdo and out buy our neighbor scrambled our ability to see and appreciate things in life that really matter? Like faith, family, true friendship. Love, mercy, redemption, forgiveness. No fortune can ever bring the fulfillment and satisfaction of a life well lived.
We have forgotten, fellow Americans. Very possibly to our own demise.
Oh we still remember 9/11. Time has caused the stirring emotions to fade to a dull roar, but they are still there. And they should be.
But we have forgotten who we are as a people. We have forgotten how we survived the darkness of the aftermath of 9/11. We have forgotten how we have risen victorious time and time again as a nation.
We have forgotten the beauty of this American experiment and why those who came before shed their blood to give us the Greatest Nation on God’s Green Earth.
We have exchanged liberty for license. We have demanded our rights rather than owning up to our responsibilities. We have chosen wealth and possessions over morality and ethics.
While wildly pledging to “Never Forget”, we have forgotten.
Will it take another 9/11, or worse, to force us to rip the blinders from our bleary eyes and see who we are again? Will we have to suffer another Great Depression before we realize we have strayed so far from our humble beginnings?
I hope not.
Will we be able to be drawn back from the precipice of abandoning everything we have fought so hard to obtain?
I don’t really know.
Yet all is not totally lost. I still have hope. We are Americans. We have been down on the mat, nose to the sky before. Our back has been up against the proverbial wall many times in the past.
We just have to remember. Remember who we are and Who was at the center of our founding.
God help us. And He will, if we allow Him to.