Thursday, September 11, 2014

What I Will "Never Forget"

Fifteen years old, sitting at a ceramic desk with 15 of my classmates, I sat watching smoke billow out of the side of one building.

A nation lost their innocence that day.  My nation.  My people.  Me.

I grew up in a sleepy farm community, comfortably insulated from the pressing matters of poverty, inner-city violence, religious prejudice, and international affairs.  I lived in a "Leave It To Beaver" sort of world.

Safe.  Happy.

Some couldn't speak; I couldn't shut up as I watched a second passenger plane make a permanent mark on the New York City.  Words spoken out of nerves and disbelief...

We were at war.

In the following days, I watched as several friends a year or two my senior signed recruitment papers for the Army, Navy, and Marines.  Fueled by a mix of patriotism and rage, many decided that the only thing to do was to join the fight.  I was still too young, or else I would have certainly joined them.  I longed to join the chorus of voices letting the world know that you don't mess with the USA

And we would never forget.


As time has passed, some thirteen years, and I still remember vividly the emotions of that day.  I still remember where I was, and those around me.  I remember my parents letting me stay up late to continue watching the news unfold through the overnight hours.

In the years since, I have watched as many have fought and died as we have taken the fight to the terrorists.  I have watched dictators and regimes fall, leaders of terrorist groups killed and imprisoned, and democracy spread across the globe.

And I see terror still.

Brutality.  Beheadings.

The evil that killed thousands and stole my innocence marches on in the world, unaffected by the return volley of bullets and bombs.

And I will never forget that no amount of military might will ever break the back of evil.

I will never forget Osama died but evil still lives on.

I will never forget that no amount of revenge will ever change the human heart.


I still remember, as I sit next to my wife and hold my youngest baby during the church service.  The church grows quiet and men move among the people of God handing out the smallest of tokens--of emblems.

A remembrance meal.

I still remember that He chose to repay evil with good; he took the violence and gave peace.  He took a cross, so that his enemies could become his friends.

And I will never forget.

"But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you."  Luke 6:27-28

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