One Word
God's Pleasure

We Have Not Forgotten


We have not forgotten what happened on September 11 in our recent past.

I remember where I was when the first hint of news came across the wave via NPR. I remember my thoughts.'

I remember how we came together and put our differences aside. As Randy Sparks wrote in a song, "On September the 11th, we became just Americans."

I remember how some folks said that nothing would ever be the same again ... but they are in most ways except the ways that time and progress change everything.

Then, we started using the tragedy to move from being a people who valued freedom above everything else to being a people who would surrender freedom for safety and security.

And we started a couple of wars, at least one clearly in response to a very real threat of terrorism in the world.

And we started rethinking the meaning of our Constitution - not that we shouldn't from time to time. We just need to hold on to what is true and just and good.

And we started bickering again.

Yet, we have not forgotten.

We are not exactly sure what the lessons were, but we learned what it meant to share a common heartbeat and a common heartbreak.

We remember what it was like to deeply care about one another.

We remember what it was like, for a moment, to respect our leaders and give them a great deal of leeway and trust along with much prayer.

What stands out for me in my memory is a heightened value for the heroes among us, in and out of uniform who are willing to lay down their lives for others. Many of these are still placing themselves in daily harm's way.

We flew flags.

We sought the comfort of God and of one another.

We sang together, mourned together, and worked together.

We can remember, but we cannot be defined by tragedy. Nor can we live in a perpetual state of emergency.

The world is dangerous. Horrible things could happen. We could all die -- but that is not the most important thing.

The most important thing is whether or not we will choose to live, and to live as free people until we die. Will we love each other? Will we pray when we are not in crisis? We will show each other respect? Will we be "just Americans" and not blue or red or whatever that is and whatever that means?

If we will remember, then we can commit to being our best as Americans and working together for common good.

For now, let us pause to remember.


Our ongoing task is to flesh out the ideals of the American dream that the first dreamers neither completely understood, yet glimpsed in truth, that they restricted to a few, but could not contain, that they believed, but could not fully envision in  all of its implications. It is ours to bring to the next stages of completion. It makes us a part of a whole and a community among many communities whose yearnings for freedom are deeper than their impulses for comfort and safety. Let us move it forward and never forget.