Never Forget What?

It seems that the guttural cry that springs from emotions surrounding 09/11 is “Never Forget.”  I will never forget a million things from that day.  I still don’t understand why this is the anthem.  Actually I do.  I understand this very well, but I object to it just being shouted out randomly.  It invokes the same anger at the ignorance behind most people just yelling “YOLO” when they are hardly celebrating life.  “You Only Live Once” is hardly something to shout while playing Russian Roulette.  Some people just don’t understand

My favorite bar has slate walls for the stall in the bathroom and of course they provide chalk.  Scrawled on the wall last night was this knock-knock joke:

“Knock Knock”
“Whos’ There”
“9/11 Who?”
“You said you’d never forget”

Think about what that says.  And think about what people mean when they say “Never Forget.”  What is it that we’re not to forget?  Is it important that we don’t forget that 2 buildings fell to the ground( and by 2 buildings I mean 4)?  Is it important that we don’t forget thousands of souls being sent to their maker?  Is it important that we don’t forget that someone somewhere decided to show us we were not immune?  None of us that was old enough to digest what was happening will ever forget.  That is not what this anthem is about.

This is the anthem of “We Must Never Forget”.  I challenge you first to change the wording of the anthem in your mind to “We Must Never Forget.”  That’s the thing.  I know people who aren’t old enough to remember for themselves.  They are part of we.  We as a people must remember the lessons that have come in the past.  We must pass it on.  We must come together and share these expensive lessons with the young so that we as a people never forget.  Certainly these events will be and already are a part of textbooks around the world, but there is a magic to hearing of history from those who lived it.

I really don’t know how many Holocaust survivors are left, but I’ve heard one speak publicly and it is bone-chilling.  I am almost glad that they are dying off because it’s like the stain on humanity is drifting into the past and I hope they find a peace that they have contemplated for decades after the years that, to them, must have lasted centuries.  We Must Never Forget.

Somehow, typing those four words at the end of that paragraph makes me cry.  Going back and reading it again has the same effect.  There are many things we must never forget.  Teach the young.  If you remember, share.

However, let us not teach the young to hate.  It is absolutely okay for you to hate.  It is absolutely okay for you to teach the young that you hate.  But let us together remember what it is that we must never forget.  Anger, fear and hatred are normal responses.  They are human responses.  They are real responses.  But what are they responses to?  When you pass them on to our children, what are you passing on to our children, but the seed of suffering?  Certainly that seed has grown and ruined countless lives in the past and it is okay to be angry.  Teach our children that suffering somewhere grew into fear.  Teach our children that that fear nurtured and anger and hatred until suffering rained down on us like the seeds of a dandelion scattered to the wind to fall where they may.  Let them know that the suffering brought you fear.  And some of that fear turned into anger and hatred.

Teach them to end it there.  We do not need to plant more seeds of suffering.

We must never forget

“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering” (Yoda, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace).


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