11 September 2012

On 9-11

In honor of the eleventh anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, I share with you what I shared last year, when the anniversary fell on a Sunday, and I was leading services at Church.  Here's the text of those remarks:

Tuesday, September 11, 2001, was an unusually bright, clear late summer day in New York City.  The images of those brilliant but skies are seared into our collective memories; however, now we remember the smoke that choked that blue sky.  We remember the image of a plane slamming into the now-fallen World Trade Center.  We remember images of people jumping from the burning towers in order to escape the roaring flames.  We also remember the pictures of firefighters and police personnel who ran into the towers in an epic, valiant struggle to save their fellowmen.  We are haunted by the heroic words uttered by a passenger on board United 93, "Let's roll!" as those few passengers decided to stop the terrorists from hitting yet another target.

The terror of that day, ten years ago, is still fresh for so many of us.  It is an event that touched us all and it is a defining moment in not only American history, but world history.  In the days following these horrific events, our nation came together in a way that many said had not been since World War II.  I remember standing in our front yard in our home in California with our neighbors as we joined our fellow countrymen in a national moment of prayer.  It was as if our nation was seeking spiritual comfort as a whole in those dark days after the attacks.

That sense of unity and desire to seek spiritual comfort as a nation has abated in the ten years since that unforgettable day.  Our nation has found its way back to its divisive ways.  In his first official blog post printed earlier this week in the Washington Post's "On Faith" column, President Thomas S. Monson, said, "Sadly, it seems that much of that renewal of faith has waned in the years that have followed.  Healing has come with time, but so has indifference.  We forget how vulnerable and sorrowful we felt.  Our sorrow has moved us to remember the deep purposes of our lives.  The darkness of our despair brought us a moment of enlightenment.  But we are forgetful.  When the depth of grief has passed, its lessons often pass from our minds and hearts as well."

The Scriptures are rife with examples of how we, the children of a loving, caring Heavenly Father, have forgotten our Father and the lessons of lives time and time again.  The Book of Mormon is especially illustrative of this cycle of forgetfulness but it also shows our Father's consistent, loving commitment to us.  In his blog post, President Monson continued, saying, "Our Father's commitment to us, His children, is unwavering.  Indeed He softens the winter of our lives, but He also brightens our summers.  Whether it is the best of times or the worst, He is with us.  He has promised us that this will never change."

President Monson, our prophet, reminds us that if there was a spiritual lesson to be learned from the events of 9/11, it may be that we owe to God the same faithfulness that He gives to us.  He said, "We should strive for steadiness, and for a commitment to God that does not ebb and flow with the years or crises of our lives.  It should not require tragedy for us to remember Him, and we should not be compelled to humility before giving Him our faith and trust.  We too should be with Him in every season."

As we reflect today, ten years after the events of 9/11, may we remember those whose lives were lost.  May we pray on behalf of them and those they left behind.  May we also reflect on what has happened to us in the years since that day.  Let us not forget who we are.  We are children of a loving Heavenly Father who has been steadfast and unwavering in His commitment to us.  May we be faithful to Him in times of crisis and times of calm.  May we make Him and His Son the center of our thoughts and the pattern for our actions.  May we remember the counsel of the Book of Mormon prophet Moroni as he raised the Title of Liberty in preparation for righteous battle, 'In memory of our God, our religion and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children.'  If we do so, we will be blessed.  

May we never forget.

1 comment:

Scott Hinrichs said...

Watching the Blue Man Group's rendition of their song Exhibit 13 is a good way to remember those that died that terrible day. Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uug21daZInI