I’m forty-three years old. With each passing year it seems that I become more and more forgetful. I bet some of you can relate to my plight. I forget where I parked my car, what I had for dinner just last night, what I came to the store to buy, and I almost always call my children by the wrong name (good thing I have all boys and no dog!).
Please, tell me I am not alone!
A recent family trip to Washington, DC really got me thinking about remembering.
As we walked the streets of the city, stared in awe at the magnificent monuments, and meandered the halls of some fabulous museums, I reminded myself the reason why these sites stand. They were there to cause me to remember.
The fact of the matter is that we are prone to forget.
This is not a new condition.
During our trip we made sure to take the quick ride over to Arlington National Cemetery. As we watched the changing of the Guard at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the silence was moving. The precise and stoic motions of the guards was captivating. After the ceremony, we made the winding walk back to the car. My son had picked up a pamphlet and was reading that the changing of the guard takes place everyday, twenty four hours per day. Why? Why do this if no one is there to see it?
We are prone to forget.
What about holidays? We have them in place in order to remember. Yet, as I look at how the majority of the populace views these special days, there is little reverence or remembering going on. Thanksgiving shopping deals. Veteran’s Day mattress sales. President’s Day ski trips. Don’t even get me started with CHRISTmas and Easter. I’ve noticed that nearly every holiday with meaning and significance has been minimized. Their importance replaced with frivolous rituals void of any reflection. I find it funny (in a not-so-funny kind of way) how the “not-so-important” holidays are epic. Have you noticed the fixation with Halloween?
Well, today is a day to remember. It’s one that I hope will stay vivid in the minds of all Americans. Today is Patriot Day. September 11th. For many of us, this is a day that has been etched into our memories forever. On that day, I was safely tucked into my New Jersey home, a short thirty minute drive from New York City. Like many of you, I watched the events of that day unfold on the television. At that time, I did not know anyone in the towers, a rare occurrence in this area for it seemed as if nearly everyone knew someone who was there.
I hope I never forget that day. I hope that I can adequately express the stories of that day to my children. There are stories to show us that evil does indeed exist. There are stronger stories of bravery and courage, of men and women risking their lives, that must be told. Stories of those who saw the smoke in the distance and ran toward it. Stories of everyday people caught in extraordinary circumstances who knew what had to be done and chose to say “Let’s Roll.”
Those stories must be told, lest we forget, lest we revert back, lest we dishonor the heroes of that day.
Tonight we will head over to our county’s memorial. Only the Hudson River will sit between us and the New York City skyline. We will walk the paths and read the inscriptions. We will recount the stories of that day to our children.
I hope September 11th never becomes just another day.