“GOD opposes the proud but favors the humble.” (Proverbs 3:34)
Like most who were adults on September 11, 2001, I remember exactly where I was, what I was doing, and the sequence of events that constituted my day that day. The horrific manner in which so many lives were lost was an incomparable experience for most of my generation and younger generations old enough to be aware of what had taken place. The physical and psychological boundaries of this nation had been penetrated.
Not surprisingly, houses of worship all over the nation were packed the following weekend as people mourned, sought comfort and, perhaps, confronted their own mortality. Like most funeral and memorial services (and these gatherings were memorial services in the truest sense), the one-time visitors to these worship houses ceased attending once their immediate needs were met and places of worship settled back into their normal routines.
Annual anniversary remembrances have become the norm and here we are, 20 years later, having just done the same. History, the good and the bad, needs to be remembered. The people who died, the spouses and children who suddenly experienced the loss of a wife, a husband, a mom, a dad, the first responders who sacrificed themselves, and those who subsequently died or have become incapacitated because of injuries or related illnesses should be remembered, not just in ceremonies but in tangible, material support for the survivors.
And…we need to be careful to not dirty-up the history by mythologizing it. Myths can be an incredibly attractive ways of viewing the past, using rose-colored glasses to see only the positive and to hide/avoid the negative about ourselves and only the negative about others. A result is self-aggrandizement. The myths of a nation can have the same effect so that acknowledging and thinking only about the good-feeling parts of history can lead to over-inflated national pride and an attitude of hegemony rather than humility. Hiding what we do not wish to see is nothing but a form of repression which will eventually bear its dangerous thorns.
As we remember history, let’s remember it in a way that is fair and true, and toss the rose-colored glasses away. Our future depends on it.
For it was GOD who created all nations. He determined when they should rise and fall and their boundaries (Acts 17:26).
© Byron L. Hannon, 2021. All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.