Friday, September 11, 2009

What If Everyone Forgets?

I remember so clearly the morning of September 11, 2001. I was at work and the news started trickling in “a plane just crashed into the twin towers!” I remember thinking, “How could someone have made a mistake like that?” as the news continued to come in, it became very clear that what was happening was not an accident! I was shocked, angry, sad, and frightened in a way that I had never felt before. “How could this happen?” I am sure I am not the only one who asked themselves this question. In fact, I remember my nephew asking me that very question. The reality was I couldn’t tell him how or why it happened, but I could help him see the humbling and unifying effect it was having on our country. In our family, the question quickly changed from “how and why” to “what can we learn” and “what good can we do.”

For a very short time we had a less partisan government, people began praying, there were no flags to be found on store shelves because EVERYONE wanted to show their loyalty to their country by flying a flag. People lined up at blood banks and made monetary donations; I think being able to help in some small way helped us feel a little less helpless. I hated what happened on 9/11, but I will admit, I liked the more prayerful and patriotic unified America. One of my favorite memories of that time was at a baseball game. Does anyone else remember that for a short time Major League Baseball changed the 7th inning stretch song from Take Me Out to the Ballgame to God Bless America? So in the 7th inning the entire crowd stood up and sang God Bless America and you know what? I think they meant it. It was like there were thousands of people in the middle of a baseball game all unifying their voices in prayer. Literally, they were petitioning the Lord for blessings on this country. It gave me chills!

So we talked, in our family, about sometimes God let’s bad things happen so that we can be more humble and willing to let him in our lives and how if we let Him help us, even the worst tragedy can be turned for our good. That really seemed to help my nephew feel better. Then one day, and not too much later, we were driving down the road and he noticed there weren’t as many flags waving in front of buildings. He pointed that out to me and said, “Aunt Lisa, I am afraid people are starting to forget. What if everyone forgets” It made me think, there was no more talk of God on television, the politicians were arguing again and, he was right, there weren’t as many flags flying. Then he said something that I will never forget, “If everyone forgets and it all goes back to the way it was, then it was all for nothing” it was just something really bad that happened for no reason at all.”