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Summary: "Never Forget" 9/11/16 Remembrance

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An event, occurring within this past hour, fifteen years ago this morning, unfolded that forever etched into the minds of this world’s populace a visceral reality that our world would never be the same. As reports of hijackings and crashes, images of carnage and destruction as well as courage and heroics began to flood our senses, we joined all those of previous generations who could say, “I remember exactly where…..”

Amidst the surrealness, the fears, the anger, a slogan, not original to our time but an inherent quality instilled in humanity by God himself, emerged. “NEVER FORGET”. A plea, birthed by our desire to make sense of the unexplainable, by an awareness that the ever-present, first in our minds and on our lips question of “why”, could never satisfactorily be given or understood and by an insatiable need to not let tragedy be in vain. Within the briefest of time, signs and placards with this saying began appearing, not just at what would forever be known as “ground zero” but in the farm lands of mid-America and cities and towns big and small, in communities labeled as urban and rural, from coast to Gulf to coast, within our borders and across the world, in slums and ghettos and on pent houses and gated communities. On churches, on mosques and on temples. Penned and written and displayed by Christians, Jews, Muslims and those who worshiped no god at all. The events, and aftermath of 9/11, were not limited to the “dividing walls” that humanity creates and hides behind. This was not a single nation’s problem, although it occurred on its soil, this was an attack on the collective “us”.

And that saying did not fall up on deaf ears. Communities pulled together. Volunteerism was at an all-time high. Church attendance increased. Men and women stood and dug and gave and worked and cried and lifted up prays together as buildings fell. And for a while it made a difference. Tasks were accomplished, money was raised, the balance of emotional recollection and essential revival emerged, and “unity” was achieved. The slow healing of a gaping wound began.

As the scar began to form, unfortunately, the signs and placards began to fade; first those visible to our physical eyes, and then, even sadder to the eyes of our hearts. We need to look no farther than our own community, our own churches, and our own lives for this stark reality to be apparent and proven true. Some even claim that the “unholy spirit” of our world is even darker now than before this catastrophe and sadly that the pendulum of “community” has swung all the way past civility to apathy, a trait far worse than hatred.

And so, my self-imposed task this morning is to resurrect that plea and to remind us to never forget. There are things, buried deep under mounds of distance, time and forgetfulness, that I want us to uncover; and not because they beautifully occurred in the shadow of this attack, but because each is imprinted and taught in God’s word and therefore within each of these is a lesson for us. I am aware that the very act of remembrance reveals our failure to do so; the volume of our forgetfulness is exposed.


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