Friday, September 09, 2011

Lest We Forget 9-11

Lest We Forget 9-11
By Scott L. Vanatter, poem written 9 September 2011

Everyday evils are often, even purposely,
Ultimate evil, barely even conceivable by us, rarely
     Pierces the mind.
     Though it is all around the world. Every day. It's tuned out.
     Some other thought takes its place, any other thought.

     The day,
     That act.

Never forgetting
     The surreal sight,
     The first image, that second image,
     Unremitting, unreal images,
     Unknown questions, unformed thoughts,
     Disconnected shock.
          Terror, numbed fear.
     The horror. The horror.
     The vulnerability.
           And our resolve, our purpose.
               Our shared identity.

               Lest we forget, (while their)
               Hate is strong,
               It shall be overcome.
                    And we shall overcome
                    Though not through hate, but design and resolve.

Recall the
      Surreal planes, the
      Pilots and plotters.
          This evil, overt act of War.
The towers and buildings shaken
And the world.
     Disturbed and awakened
          Once more.

In air and on ground
Heroes both perished and alive.
Survivors stumbling out. 
Rescuers rushing
In, and up,
     Though not returning.
Passengers rushing
Headlong, confronting terror and

     The Fall,
     That sinking feeling.
     Across a blue sky, the spreading, billowed gray cloud of ash, the dark dust and debris of noise, of pain.
          Of death.
          Of emptiness.

Giant, twisted metal shards,
Sharp, jangled angles mark where angels once stood.
A hole burrowed into the ground of a deathless field,
     Through crumbled burned walls,
          And in the world.

Flags flown,
Heads bowed.
     Taking a deep breath,
     We stand.

Loved ones
In homes partially empty, but hearts mostly filled,
     Are dedicated to their memory.
      And the rest of us?
          Our culture? Our families?
          Our leaders? Their policies?

          Dedicated to, and aware of,

Memories touch our feelings.
Of lives lost -- and some saved.
Of heroes, of evil,
     Of that day.

Either two hundred fifty miles, or twenty,
Far away, or much too close, 
In another ten years, or in fifty,
Remember the sorrow, the sight, the significance,
Remember that act.
     Lest we forget our resolve -- our purpose.
     Lest we forget our core identity.
     Lest we forget our faith, our freedom.

No faded fear
Can overcome
Real freedom here.
     Or around the world.
Sooner or later, some day,
The strength of love melts away
     Any futile fear.

          In the face of the unthinkable.
          Honorably protect the innocent.
               Re-discovering innocence.
          A positive

     Responsible and Invincible.
Only then
We can get to the place where
We can purposely, productively forget. When
We remember.

# # # 

Thomas S. Monson on 9-11 "Rebuilding"

President Monson in the Washington Post. [Emphasis added.] 
9/11 destruction allowed us to spiritually rebuild
By Thomas S. Monson, Posted at 11:38 AM ET, 09/08/2011, Washington Post “On Faith”

The calamity of September 11th, 2001 has cast a long shadow. Ten years later, many of us are still haunted by its terrible tragedy of lost lives and broken hearts. It is an episode of anguish that has become a defining moment in the history of the American nation and the world. This week, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, along with Tom Brokaw, will pay its own homage to the unforgettable events of September 11, 2001.

There was, as many have noted, a remarkable surge of faith following the tragedy. People across the United States rediscovered the need for God and turned to Him for solace and understanding. Comfortable times were shattered. We felt the great unsteadiness of life and reached for the great steadiness of our Father in Heaven. And, as ever, we found it. Americans of all faiths came together in a remarkable way.

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 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.

Our Father’s commitment to us, His children, is unwavering. Indeed He softens the winters 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.

But we are less faithful than He is. By nature we are vain, frail, and foolish. We sometimes neglect God. Sometimes we fail to keep the commandments that He gives us to make us happy. Sometimes we fail to commune with Him in prayer. Sometimes we forget to succor the poor and the downtrodden who are also His children. And our forgetfulness is very much to our detriment.

If there is a spiritual lesson to be learned from our experience of that fateful day, it may be that we owe to God the same faithfulness that He gives to us. We should strive for steadiness, and for a commitment to God that does not ebb and flow with the years or the 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.
The way to be with God in every season is to strive to be near Him every week and each day. We truly “need Him every hour,” not just in hours of devastation. We must speak to Him, listen to Him, and serve Him. If we wish to serve Him, we should serve our fellow men. We will mourn the lives we lose, but we should also fix the lives that can be mended and heal the hearts that may yet be healed.

It is constancy that God would have from us. Tragedies are not merely opportunities to give Him a fleeting thought, or for momentary insight to His plan for our happiness. Destruction allows us to rebuild our lives in the way He teaches us, and to become something different than we were. We can make Him the center of our thoughts and His Son, Jesus Christ, the pattern for our behavior. We may not only find faith in God in our sorrow. We may also become faithful to Him in times of calm.

Thomas S. Monson is president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.