Forever Changed?


The New York skyline was forever changed on this day 16 years ago.  The images of the day are etched in my mind as I’m sure they are in yours, if you are old enough to remember.  But what about for those that weren’t alive then, or are too young to remember?  They see the images posted on Facebook today and in past years, but they have no memories to recall.  They can never remember the eerie silence that filled the air as the plane hit the 2nd tower or when both towers began crumbling down.  They will never remember the news reports, the empty sky.   The surreal feeling as the world watched the events unfold in the days following that terrible day.

I’m certain my generational ancestors can say the same about our history.  They vowed not to forget the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, WWI and WWII.   Even those that survive acts of nature as has happened in recent days and weeks in Texas and Florida vow to remember.  But if we don’t experience it, it’s not as important to us.  It’s easier to ignore if we didn’t live it. And it’s easier to forget as time passes.

But we can’t forget!  As George Santayana said,

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

We need to remember those events 16 years ago, 200+ years ago and everything in before, between and since.

If we forget, everything done was in vain.  We are not 325 million plus people.  We are one country.  I pray we can remember that.  When the anniversary of 9-11 passes and the hurricanes are over and things return to “normal” or maybe a new normal, I pray we can remember that it’s not one nationality that built this country.  It’s many.  It was done by hard work and cooperation.  And it was done by people who entered this country legally.  My heart breaks for those that are paying the consequences for those that didn’t.  I know many are angry.  Many are hurt. Many are afraid.  The solution is well above my pay grade and ability.  But I know this much, the answer isn’t in violence.  The answer isn’t in hurling accusations.  The answer isn’t in apologizing for what our ancestors did. We had nothing to do with what they did. Yes, we can be compassionate but we are not responsible for their actions. We are responsible for ours.

We are at our best when we are working together for the common good.  Oftentimes, that takes tragedy.  Two planes hitting two towers in NYC, a tornado, a hurricane, a shooting.

We are at our best when we're working together for the common good Click To Tweet

One of the new terms used to describe the United States is “tossed salad” but think about it.  The flavors in a salad taste pleasant together but they don’t blend, they don’t mix.  Sometimes the tomatoes end up in the bottom, the dressing clumps together.  Sometimes the bite you take is all lettuce and if it’s iceberg it has very little flavor.  Or you get a hunk of radish that burns your mouth.

I happen to think melting pot fits better.   What happens when you blend two different colors of sand together? You get a little of each color and a different color too.  Same with crayons.  If you melt a blue crayon and a yellow crayon together you get an oddly shaped green crayon probably with streaks of each individual color.  This is the principle of our country.  People came together from all over the world knew that they could come to America for the opportunities they could have.  Many left everything behind to do this.   They knew what this country was. Who we were and what we stood for.  Many of them were not accepted at first but they worked hard and many built lives here.  Generations later, we’ve blended in.  This doesn’t mean we leave behind our individuality anymore than it does when one marries, it means we evolve and grow.  A little of the previous us remains but becomes something better together.

The Liberty bell was commissioned to represent liberty for all!  To “proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof.”   Lady Liberty, a gift from France, sits in the harbor and became an icon of freedom to the immigrants.  Even today,  if one has never been privileged to gaze upon her, the beautiful lady emotions can overwhelm.

Before the hurricanes struck we were a divided country.  That division seems to have dissipated for a time.  Peoples of all nationalities have come together to help those struck helpless by the storms. I could be wrong but I’m guessing even the most racist person  will change their mind, if only for a short time, when they’re stuck on a rooftop with the water rising because living is better than dying.

During times of adversity, we work together and seem to come out strong.  This tells me that we’re better together.  We’ve better melting, than tossed.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 tells us that “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” But we’re a post Christian nation, some may have never heard it.  Or, maybe they see it as rather old fashioned.  We’ve forgotten.   Instead of loving, instead of grace and mercy, we react.  We have an “everybody’s out to get me” mentality when it’s most likely just not so.  Yes, there will always be jerks in the world, and they get the attention.  We have to be stronger than them.  We must be strong enough to stand up and say no more.  We must cross the divide that separates us.

we are stronger together Click To Tweet

The question on my heart is, will we?  When the devastation of hurricanes are nearly forgotten, when tomorrow comes and forget 9-11 until next year, will we remember that we are better together? Will we remember that we are better finding our commonalities instead of looking at our differences?   Will we be able to put aside our differences and be better together?

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