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So We Do Not Forget

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Like me, I’m sure you remember exactly where you were the moment you first heard a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. Like me, I’m sure you simply couldn’t believe it could be anything other than a horrible accident. But then we saw the pictures, and the second plane hit, and there was no denying that an atrocity of unimaginable proportions had just taken place in our country, against our citizens.

The images flashing across our television screens that day and on the days to follow are the kind that never leave our memory. Human beings jumping to their deaths because what waited below them was a better choice than the one behind them. I sobbed for those people then, and I cry again for them today as our country remembers the day that changed us forever.

Human beings have incredible capacity for kindness, love and compassion. Human beings also have the ability to be persuaded in the name of perceived truth to do unspeakable things against other living beings.

I was in my twenties the first time I truly understood this. My husband and I were on our first trip to Europe, and we decided to visit the concentration camp memorial in Dachau, Germany. My grandfather had been a prisoner of war in World War II, and something in me needed to see a piece of what he had experienced.

But I was completely unprepared for what I saw and felt in that memorial. I cannot adequately explain the tangible awareness of what happened in that despicable place. But from the moment I stepped inside, until we had finally driven away, I could not stop crying for the people who died there and the suffering they had known.

So it is with our 9-11.

A sign over one of the doors at Dachau read: So We Do Not Forget.

It is my prayer that our country will look back through the door of today, and we do not forget.

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