Social networks are covered today with “Never Forget” and “Where were you when…?” On a day like today we can’t help but look back. Our ongoing process of healing demands that we focus on a tragedy that for a brief moment, which felt like an eternity, united these States in such a way that only tragedy can do. Every one of us stopped what we were doing as our lives became one collective being struggling through the inevitable emotions of anger, doubt, confusion, and, most powerfully, sorrow. Some of us had direct connections to someone who was lost or affected by a loss. Some of us were connected only through a world wide swell of emotion. But each one of us felt it. And that is why each one of us remembers today. Each one of us will not forget. Each one of us knows exactly where we were…
There is plenty of flag waving, and patriotic tributes. In a secularized world there seems to be no greater symbol to rally behind than the flag of a nation. Our nation. We draw in praise for our military which, in short order, was drawn to war. But remember, today, that we don’t pledge to “Never forget” out of a decree for a justice that can never be achieved, but instead we never forget the unspeakable tragedy that accompanies the absence of peace.
We knew there was conflict in the world. We knew of wars. We knew of hatred. But we didn’t know we were a part of it until that day 10 years ago. And now we’ll never forget that we live in a world that is characterized by the absence of peace. We know because that day each one of us felt it. We were united by it. So as we mourn those losses still felt 10 years later, and wrestle with that collective emotion once more, may we no longer be united by the absence of peace, but instead be united for it.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called the children of God.1
- Matthew 5:9 from the NET version [↩]