This is the day and month of the year when Americans remember. On every television channel, every newspaper, every social media outlet, there are photos and tributes to the heroes and victims of September 11, 2001. It’s been fourteen years, and every one of us who was old enough to mildly comprehend that day remembers exactly what they were doing.
It was the most brutal tragedy of our lifetime.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one glued to the television for days following the attacks. I just couldn’t step away. Or stop crying. I couldn’t understand how this could happen; how it could impact so many people. Really an entire country. Actually, the world. I still don’t understand.
But on that horrific day and the days that followed, amidst all the chaos and horror, I also remember seeing incredible stories of heroism, bravery, humanity, compassion, generosity and selflessness. For days, weeks and even months, it continued across the country.
Tragedy brought our country together.
We united. We cared for one another. As people. Regardless of any other variable. We were Americans. Standing together. Serving one another. Loving one another.
The attacks that intended to bring our country to its knees did hurt, most certainly…but it also strengthened us and knit our hearts together. We will never forget.
Or will we?
No, we’ll never forget the terror attack. We’ll never forget the lives lost. No way!
But have we forgotten how to stand together? United. Have we forgotten that we are all people? Fellow Americans? Countrymen and women.
Sometimes, it seems like the only rays of sunshine that broke through the aftermath of dust, smoke and tears was the way Americans came together. Almost like a family.
Today, I wonder if we look more like a dysfunctional family? It hurts my heart. Especially today.
If coming together was one of the few good things that resulted from 9/11, we need to make sure it continues. We need to protect and strengthen our unity. It’s a living legacy to those who died. It’s one of the best ways we can honor them.
On the eve of 9/11 this year, a rainbow appeared over the location where the Twin Towers once stood. In the Bible, a rainbow is a sign from God. It represents His promises to us. It’s a reason for us to remain hopeful. Even in terrible times.
God also promises to use all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28.) All things. I have to remind myself of this sometimes. He can use tragedy and loss. He can rebuild our hearts from devastation.
He’s a Redeemer. That’s what He does.
It brings Him joy to love us and give to us. JOY. He wants to give us all He has to offer. The entire Kingdom. (Luke 12:32) He is generous. Lavish, even.
And, what does He want in return? Simply, our love and trust. Love Him and love others too. Those are His two greatest commands.
Are we doing that? Or have we forgotten?
Love God and love others.
May this day in history and every year on its anniversary help us to remember. Yes, let’s remember those who lost their lives. Let’s remember the heroes and their courage displayed. Let’s remember the lavish love that we showed each other.
And let’s continue it throughout the year. Every day. Every year.
That’s how we can remember and honor and never, ever forget.
We can love. It helps to heal. It helps to redeem. It’s the greatest there is, and it can make all the difference.