Why we remember

why we remember

This past Memorial Day, I posted the 1915 John McCrae poem “In Flanders Fields.”

The poem ends with this stanza:
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

There is a reason why we remember such tragic events as September 11, 2001.

Yes, we honor those who lost their lives on that sunny Tuesday morning in New York and Washington and Shanksville.

We remember because as a people — a nation — we are united by our shared language, our shared culture, our shared heritage and history.

History is not taught in public schools. It is in fact the least taught subject in public schools. As a result, young people are not being instilled with a respect for our shared history.

And this is a shame.

Our present is defined by our past. America today is defined by the events of our past. By those who struggled to get to our shores fleeing religious persecution. By those who first established our nation and fought a Revolution to gain their liberty. We are who we are because of what we’ve lived through as a nation.

We remember and we recognize these moments in our history because they shape us, inform us, define us.

Commemorating September 11 is not some ghoulish exercise of reveling in grief and tragedy.

We remember quite simply so that we do not forget. We do not forget where we came from, how we got here, who we are. And yes, who our enemy is.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Recognizing and honoring those who died in these monstrous attacks fourteen years ago is one of the ways we keep the faith with them. To ensure they will not be forgotten. To ensure that it will not happen again.

There’s a reason that some thirty years ago, a project began to put on film the first-person accounts of Holocaust survivors.

They were growing old and dying. And it would have been a second tragedy if their memories died with them.

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

I fear that we are being led by those who cannot remember even this recent past of fourteen short years ago.

And not just remember in the sense of “Oh, yeah. I remember that happening.”

Why we remember is more than just calling up the facts of the event.

It is recognizing its impact on our lives.

But our own President cannot recognize its impact.

Our own President has just made an agreement with the single largest state sponsor of terrorism on the Planet.

He fails to remember 9/11.

Sure, he steps outside of the White House and solemnly hangs his head at 8:46 in the morning on September 11.

But he doesn’t remember.

If he really did. Would he so cavalierly abandon the torch passed to us by those who died?

And because he doesn’t remember, he has recklessly paved the way for this nation to live at greater risk for yet another brutal, barbaric attack.

To scoff at those who honor 9/11 is a mindset devoid of history.

It is breaking the faith with those who died.

This is something I refuse to do.

America on Islam

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One thought on “Why we remember

  • September 11, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    We built a memorial at Pearl Harbor. I’ve been there. There are pictures of bombed ships after the attack. Are they “politicizing” Pearl Harbor?
    Did Lincoln “politicize” Gettysburg?

    The only people I have seen trying to “politicize” 9/11 are those who would subvert it from a natural national day of remembrance & turn it into some “day of service”.

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