‘Never Forget’: Why Allowing the Horrors of Oct. 7th To Be Forgotten Is Not An O

‘Never Forget’: Why Allowing the Horrors of Oct. 7th To Be Forgotten Is Not An O

1 month 5 days ago - 1 month 5 days ago

Never Forget. It’s a phrase that has gone out of vogue in recent years. People don’t talk about 9/11 anymore. I do because I lost many friends there. Marsh & McLennan was a client of mine when I worked on Wall Street. I knew many of their employees in the Twin Towers. I visited their offices in Tower One, floors 93 through 100.

Most worked on Tower Two’s 40s and 50s floors, where I spent time at the hedge fund desks. On September 11, 2001, 1,908 Marsh & McLennan employees were in those two towers, including 129 visiting from out-of-town offices. Marsh and McLennan even had an employee on one of the flights that crashed into the towers.

Jeffrey W. Greenberg, the CEO, confirmed those figures for a Harvard Business Review story, adding this personal note: “These are facts I can tell you with certainty; we have lived with them day and night ever since. What I cannot do is convey the grief we felt that day and the loss that stays with us.”

“Never forget” is a two-word simple phrase with different meanings if you’ve been through a traumatic event or several. I can tell you what I felt and saw the day my first wife died. Burned into my memory is watching my daughter on her hands and knees wiping up the blood stain on the floor from where the paramedics worked on her. A plaque on my wall bears tiny footprints and handprints of Duane Robert Kerr, our baby Gloria carried to full term, knowing he would be born but never held.

Those images are forever etched into my memory. Why? Because as painful as they are, I cannot allow myself to forget, not because I haven’t wished to, but because they are too important to ignore. That one fact – their importance – is why it is so crucial never to forget.

We remember, we never forget, because the alternative to Never Forget is nearly unforgivable: Forgotten.

Some people find it hard to view the images from 9/11. I confess I wept anew on those days’ 10th and 20th anniversaries and today as I write this. Even though I am blessed to be happily married to my second wife, an amazing woman I dearly love, I still find myself shedding tears on the date my first wife died. My oldest son has it even more difficult; the day she died was his 27th birthday. Some things we move beyond emotionally and practically, but it is reasonable and necessary that we never forget some things, especially the most difficult moments.

Similarly, this recent tragedy of the black Shabbat massacre is a date and set of images that should never be forgotten. Some of the murdered included women and men, now in their 90s, who had survived the Holocaust as children. They never imagined they would survive that horror only to have their lives end in another, in their own homes. Several Holocaust survivors are among the hostages the war criminals still hold in Gaza. At least one has already died there.

I sympathize with those who find it difficult to view the images, read the stories, or watch the videos of the scenes there. Some people could never stand to walk through the Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, in Israel. There you view real relics recovered from Nazi death camps, photographs of babies, families, and a railroad boxcar that hauled many to their deaths. As you walk through Yad Vashem, a narrative plays in the background, with the voices of survivors telling their stories. It’s a somber, heavy experience, and truly one you never forget, nor should you. That’s the point.

Most people have heard of Auschwitz. A few more could name one or two other death camps, Buchenwald, Treblinka. Could you name all 23 main death camps? How about the other 900 subcamps? Did you know there were that many? You can understand why, for a Jew, the phrase Never Forget is more compelling. To them, the alternative – Forgotten – is inconceivable.

This has been a difficult three and a half months in Israel and Gaza. There are likely many more to come. Over 100 IDF soldiers have died fighting to free the hostages and citizens of Gaza from Hamas, ISIS, Islamic Jihad, and the Palestinian Authority, all of whom have or still hold hostages and fight there. The families of those fallen soldiers will never forget. The families of the dead or missing 1200 from October 7 will never forget.

Never forget is a weighty, ponderous phrase. Memories of the dead, the wounded, the lost, or the massacred are hard memories. They are cumbersome to the heart, which is precisely why we must carry some. We should not hold onto hurts just to self-inflict hurt; that’s emotionally unhealthy. But we must hold onto the memories so we never forget.

We need to allow God to bear the weight, and He will. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” We are commanded to fulfill the “law of Christ” and bear each other’s hurts where we can (Galatians 6:2). But some memories, though tiresome and painful, must be borne. The feelings of shock, horror, pain, regret, indignation, acrimony, and offense you will encounter as you view the videos and read the accounts of real people will stay with you – and they should; they must.

Dan Rather, the famed television commentator, said, “We cannot rely on memorials and museums alone. We can tell ourselves we will never forget, and we likely won’t. But we need to make sure that we teach history to those who never had the opportunity to remember in the first place.” That is why we must embed agonizing and uncomfortable memories, because some do not.

Some people avoid pain at all costs. They navigate the long route around troubling feelings and grief. They don’t shed tears easily. I can empathize with people who have trouble dealing with painful experiences. I was an insurance adjuster when I arrived in Homestead, Florida, two days after Hurricane Andrew. I will never forget the stories of those who lived through it. Those memories are forceful and compel me to feel for those who lived things I cannot imagine. Never forget is a sizeable burden. I get that, but consider a Christian worldview on Never Forget.

The Bible says “remember” 631 times. God created us to remember. We are told to “Remember the works of the Lord” (Ps. 77:11). “Remember those in prison as if you are bound with them” (Hebrews 13:3). Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that when their hour comes, you will remember” (John 16:4). The criminal next to Jesus offered a simple salvation prayer: “Remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).

While it may be painful and unnerving to digest the scenes and sentences from Israel right now, knowing what is happening and having it embedded in your mind and heart fulfills what President Kennedy once said at a veterans memorial: “We must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Some of the images from Israel you will never forget—you cannot unsee a baby’s room splattered with the blood of a mother who died trying to shield her daughter from the spray of bullets. You cannot forget the charred remains of teenagers who died holding each other as they were burned alive in their car, trying to escape the murderers at the concert venue.

As a journalist, I can never unsee or forget the video that was circulated to the media compiled from the body-cam videos the terrorists proudly streamed during the attacks. I don’t recommend it for most people, and no, I won’t send it to you. Suffice it to say, the debauchery and levels of inhumanity are beyond words; most probably should never see it.

When we endure but commit to memory what we must Never Forget, when we remember the painful and powerful, we ensure for the next generation that Forgotten is not an option.

Time magazine printed a powerful open letter from John Spencer, a veteran, military strategist, and military scholar who journeyed to southern Israel to witness the horrific aftermath of the Oct. 7th massacre:

The last house I entered was a house of a slain young couple that were due to be married very soon. Instead, flies, a splattering of blood, and the smell of death. The celling was riddled with holes from a terrorist grenade.

When I left the house, I was confronted by the parents of a young man who died in the house. I was not ready for that. As a parent, what do you say to a parent who’s lost a piece of themselves in this way? I froze up.

“I am sorry for your loss,” I said, peering into both the father and mother’s eyes to see their eternal pain. I put my hand over my heart and tried to express my condolences. I then walked away.

A moment later, talking to my IDF escort, the father approached me.

He said “please, please don’t let people forget.”

It’s a difficult read, I’m warning you. But if you’re the kind of person who is challenged by suffering yet willing Never to Forget, I encourage you to read it in its entirety.  time.com/6554560/lesson-on-human-suffering-kibbutz-kfar-aza/
Last edit: 1 month 5 days ago by Born Again Christians.

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