As I look through the history of the date September 11th I am besieged with violence.Â The first full Army unit landed in Viet Nam, Mormon â€œguerillasâ€ killed 120 unarmed settlers, a group of socialists tried to effect peace… by starting revolutions and civil wars, and, of course, the terrorist airplane attacks of 2001.Â The list goes on, Iâ€™m stopping there.
The effect goes on as well. As a result of the events of 2001, we still have troops on the field of battle in two middle eastern nations.Â Young Americans are tearing apart, and in some cases giving up, their lives for the belief that they can make a difference in how much the future does or does not reflect the violent past.
Earlier today, an online friend pointed out that he was a volunteer at ground zero in 2001, and that he can still remember that burning smell.Â He made the point that he did not need to be reminded â€œhow important it was to rememberâ€…Â that he would, in fact, never forget.Â What concerns me, what I would like to change, is what, in particular, some people are electing to remember.
I have written before about my affinity for Mothers day (in the traditional sense).Â About how the holiday was created out of a desire for peace and an end to war.Â It was not about placing blame, it was not about extolling the virtues of one ideology over another it was about a group of people coming together to celebrate whatever efforts could be made to prevent the horrors of war from happening again, to prevent losing more of their sons to the wanton violence of war.
Obviously, that movement has fallen prey to the retail movement and today Mothers Day is more about gifts, flowers and brunch.Â However, I think there are some strong and necessary roots in the original movement.Â Things that, when we take the time to â€œnever forgetâ€ we should keep in the forefront of our minds.
What I would encourage you to do today, rather than remembering the horrors, the enemy, and the mission; is to focus some energy on making sure it does not happen again.Â Do you really understand why the Vietnam war took place, why a group of Mormons would be moved to trick settlers out of their guns and then kill them, why a group of socialists seeking peace would call for civil war, and, of course, why a someone would fly an airplane into a building?Â If so, what can you do, what can anyone do, to make sure it does not happen again?
Thousands of years of violence have proven that you cannot shoot your way to peace.Â In fact, almost every â€œconqueredâ€ nation in history has come back later to be a nation that repressed others in its own way.Â The cycle of violence, revenge, and repression does not work.
On this day, when most of the nation will have the tragedy of September 11th on their minds, I ask you to think carefully about what you choose remember.Â Make it constructive and compassionate.
Remember how, as a nation, and as a people, we are generous… and give.
Remember how, as a nation, and as a people, we are peaceful… and make a stand for to end the wars.
Remember how, as a nation, and as a people, we are tolerant… and work to better understand what other people are experiencing.
Remember how, as a nation, and as a people, we have abundance… and share.
Remember that we are supposed to be the good guys.Â We are supposed to set an example.Â If you were given the opportunity to write the history book that children were studying in the year 3000, how would you write the chapter on the years you were alive?Â What would we accomplish in that era?
Today, when you hear the words â€œalways rememberâ€ or â€œnever forgetâ€, will your subsequent thoughts support the history you want to create for your generation?
Perhaps, with the right frame of mind, we can change the nature of the history of September 11th, and that is something noone would ever forget..