11 September 2016

In Memoriam: 9/11 Fifteen Years Later

Today, September 11th, marks the fifthteenth anniversary of a day that changed the world as we know it. This is a somber, reverent day for countless people around the world for the horror of 9/11 was truly global. It is a poignant day for me and my industry colleagues who saw our profession change forever that morning. As I have done in years past, I choose to honor those that died on that fateful day with the text of the remarks I gave in Church on the 10th anniversary of the attacks:

Tuesday, September 11, 2001, was an unusually bright, clear late summer day in New York City. The images of those brilliant blue 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 (and on the 15th anniversary, we are more divided as nation than ever). 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 of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 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."

For some, the memories of that fateful day are fading and some have no memory of it. Children born after that fateful day have no concept of what the world was like before that day. To them, the bad security theater that is the TSA is just what you do to get on an airplane. For others, like a certain Russian dictator loving US presidential candidate, the events of 9/11 have been an opportunity for him to bolster his campaign of hate and bigotry by continuing to promote a lie about the events of that day. We continue to be fascinated by the scourge that is the Kardashians and we allow them to milk their infernal worthlessness for even more millions, rather than finding ways to heal our nation. We would be so much better off if we would forget all of them. Instead, the names of the thousands that died that day are what we are forgetting. That is simply wrong.

Two years ago on this day, as I walked to Penn Station, I happened upon an older couple who clearly hadn't forgotten. On the lapel of the woman's jacket was a large picture button emblazoned with a black ribbon. It was clear that the young man in the picture was their son and he'd lost his life day. His name, although unknown to me, was read today as were the names of all the other victims. They cannot be forgotten.

Watch United 93 or any of the other myriad programs that will play tonight. Remember one of those who died on that flight, or in the Towers, or in the Pentagon.

May we never forget.

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