I’ve seen people today saying, “Never forget,” in relation to the World Trade Center attacks that happened 20 years ago. What is it that we shouldn’t forget?
Yes, I remember the feelings I had the day that I heard about a plane crash during my drive to work in an overheating car. Yes, I remember the horror of seeing the buildings collapse and the sadness for all the people like me who had just gone to work, expecting a normal day. Yes, I remember the heroism of police and firefighters and passengers. Yes, I remember the weird feeling in the days that followed as air travel was halted completely and then resumed, and driving past the airport and thinking about how terrible a weapon you could make from the plane that was landing over my head.
I remember the debates about security measures and whether they would make us safer. I remember the debates about whether we should invade this country or that one. I remember the disgusting glee of some coworkers when they thought Saddam Hussein or bin Laden had been captured or killed.
But today, I choose to remember the massive human cost that my country extracted around the world in its search for revenge.
I am reminded that seeking revenge is the way to prolong and multiply bloodshed and pain, not a way to make it stop. My country’s response to the loss of less than 3000 lives was to start a couple of wars that led to the deaths of almost 1000000 people and the displacement for tens of millions more. I ask forgiveness for this sin, and I pray that the rest of the world shows us more grace than we showed them.