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For many reading this post today, knowing today’s date, you immediately knew what Never Forget referred to. 17 years ago our world changed, although, I guess, in reality it was our world view that changed, the world remained as it had been. Hatred and evil have been around for thousands of years, as far back as Cain and Abel. The morning of September 11, 2001, we all sat glued to our TV or radio. Was it a terrorist attack? Was it an accident? No one knew at that point. Bit by bit more news poured in that we had been attacked on American soil. Our lives changed and we were suddenly ran by a system of colors. Most days we were red and orange, meaning we had a severe or high risk of a terror attack. Fear like I’ve not seen since ran rampant in the American people The airline industry saw order after order cancelled. They didn’t need the orders filled because people weren’t flying. Layoffs were a regular event and you never knew who would be next. It wasn’t just the airline industry that got hit, everyone was seeing a decline. People stayed at home and stocked up on groceries and water, just in case. Lines at the gas pump went for blocks in fear of what would happen next. People wanted to go home and visit family, but were afraid to fly or even drive. If we weren’t safe just going to work, where were we safe? What if they attacked again? Many of you reading this experienced the same as I did and you felt the same sadness. For those that were too young to remember, my words would never be adequate enough to describe that day so I won’t try.

This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace.
America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day,
yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world
– George W. Bush September 11, 2001

As I scrolled through social media this morning, I saw images and quotes from 17 years ago and my heart hurts all over again. I hurt for those that lost loved ones that day. I hurt for first responders that are beginning to see the effects on their bodies from 17 years ago. I hurt for the children that never grew up with their parents. I hurt for those that never found the remains of their loved ones. I see many pictures on 9/11 each year, but on the other days of the year do we remember? Do we remember our commitment to unity? Do we remember life is short? Do we remember to hug the neck of our loved ones? Do we remember our commitment to defend all that is good and just in our world? Do we remember to love our neighbor as ourselves? Do we remember to pray for our enemies?

If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate. —Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. – Martin Luther King Jr

 

The days after the attack our lives and our views of this world were changed in ways I can’t explain. I saw firsthand what hatred can do on a large scale. I’ve seen the effects for years after. I also saw what happens when the American people come together. I saw unity in a way that was humbling. I saw our church pews filled, hurts forgiven, families reunited, neighbors helping each other. A country that is currently divided over a Nike ad, once stood together and proud. I see on social media many people that say things like our country was never great, that we’ve never stood united. I shake my head because I know better. We once looked beyond race, gender, religion, and preconceived ideas. If I’m being 100% bluntly honest, it’s the last part that we are having problems with. It’s our preconceived ideas dividing us. We once stood strong. If you were one of the many that vowed to never forget, can I remind you today that we should remember the same ideals tomorrow on September 12 just as much as we do today. Teach your children those principles. Never Forget!

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Matthew 22:36-40

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