Sunday, November 19, 2006

Lest we forget

September 11 is a day that defines a generation, but my generation remembers the day J.F.K. was shot as one of those days. My parents remembered Pearl Harbor. And the list could go back to the sinking of a civilian ship by the Germans in WWI or the day the British burned the White House and Dolly Madison saved a portrait.

We humans forget. Tragedies happen and life, if we want to live our lives, moves on. For some of us the memories keep coming in regular and irregular fashions more frequently, for others those moments of remembrance become less frequent (though not necessarily less painful).Perhaps it is less important to remember the particular event, than to remember those events happen.

Lamentations talk about how the city has fallen and the hands of compassionate women boil children for food. Many may not know the event that called forth this lament, but the lament is still felt.And perhaps it is more important to ask how these events affect our values. Do we become more compassionate? or more fearful? Do we attempt to escape over the backs of another? or help those around us?

The values we profess are held up for examination in the light of tragedy. And we are faced with whether we live up to those values.Do we continue to seek to give everyone a quick and speedy trial? Do we honor the values of free speech? Do we make sure we have evidence and review before we search and seize private property? Do the despised among us have the presumption of innocence?

The values we profess but give up in our grief show the values we truly cherish. What values have we shown the world?

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