Do you think that someone was shocked in 1958 when kids in high school didn’t remember Pearl Harbor?
Do you think that someone was shocked in 1978 when kids had no memories of watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon?
Today I realized that our high school seniors weren’t alive when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. They have thousands of exposures on film that tell them the story, even though they weren’t alive to see it unfold in real time. I saw it like so many of you, and that day is so firmly branded on my mind and heart, I can’t imagine life without that painful memory. Every society creates reminders of critical events in their history. When we forget history, we are bound to repeat it with the same mistakes.
Centuries ago, Moses stood before Israel and spent a great deal of time remembering and reminding them of how God had acted in history. He reminded them of the painful days and their victorious days. He reminded them of God’s faithfulness, leadership, and instructions. If they remembered and followed, they could expect the blessed life that God designed and intended for them. But if they forgot Him, they could expect the disaster of their own futile choices. So he charged them to write God’s commands on their homes, hands, and hearts so they would remember the God who loved them, liberated them, and led them.
Today, I’m remembering a young man who was in the Marines on 9/11. I’m remembering the call he made to his dad that evening. “Dad, I can’t tell you where I’m going. I just wanted you to know I’m leaving and we’re going to get the people who did this.” I’m remembering the man who arrived at my office in tears because his niece was on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. I’m remembering because I don’t want to forget.