It breaks my heart to write this, but I am angry and disappointed and hope that the shock sparks change.
Like many of you, I woke up this morning with a feed full of #NeverForget posts.
While it may make you feel good to see them and to share them, we have forgotten what it truly means.
What I see in this picture is a real attack on our freedoms.
All the rhetoric about how wearing a mask is an attack on your freedom just doesn’t compare, does it?
What I do not see in this picture are democrats or republicans. I do not see black or white, gay or straight, liberals or conservatives. I see neighbors, colleagues, strangers, and friends…all part of our American family.
We say #NeverForget as if we will always remember, respect, and honor.
Yet even today, our country, the country I love, is still under attack. Foreign enemies continue to attack our election processes, they continue to spread disinformation and division through social media, and they continue to try to hack campaigns and sow discord.
We are under attack from within, by growing numbers of domestic terrorists, whether organized or individuals. Hate crimes, anti-Semitism, and other types of discrimination are on the rise across the country, leading to an increase in violent attacks.
We are under attack from a disease that has ravaged countries around the globe and caused thousands upon thousands of deaths. Even if you only believe the lowest of numbers, they are still significantly greater than our losses on 9/11.
Worse yet, we are under attack from each other, allowing partisan politics to divide us and undermine our institutions. We are not each other’s enemies nor is a free press our enemy.
So, what have we done to #NeverForget? Not nearly enough.
We did not care enough to ensure the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation bill was reauthorized and funded until well over a decade after the attacks.
We did not care enough to go out and vote to ensure every voice is heard in our democracy.
We did not care enough to complete our census to make sure every person is counted.
We do not care enough to respect each other and the memories of those we have lost.
Sadly, instead of remaining united in the face of adversity, we have become the most divided this nation has seen since our Civil War.
We mock and denigrate each other because of our beliefs or political party affiliations.
We question each other’s patriotism and oppose everything that doesn’t fit our views, going so far as to tell each other to “leave if you don’t like it”.
We turn a blind eye to suffering and injustice and continue to sow racial division instead of working for equality and equity.
We continue to accept death; from COVID, from school shootings, from police misconduct, and from other forms of violence and disease as ‘acceptable’.
So, are you part of the problem or part of the solution?
#NeverForget cannot just be words or photos or memes on a page. It must be in action and accountability.
Look back at your feed, at your words and actions. Have you truly been living up to those ideals? Have you been respectful to your fellow citizens? Have you taken action to unite or divide? Have you supported those who have attacked or disrespected others? Have you been kind? Have you ‘unfriended’ someone because they believe differently than you?
Let us not forget that we are still a country at war. Our troops are still serving in harm’s way.
If we cannot remain united and supportive, what exactly are they defending?
So today, as we should every day, we must not just remember, not just share meaningless words, we must honor that memory with our actions and intent.
If we are truly going to #NeverForget, we must live like we did on September 11th and 12th. United in our commitments to our country and to each other, respectful and supportive of each other and our beliefs, and dedicated in ensuring that those lives we lost were not in vain.
Never forget that we are stronger because of our diversity. That truth matters. Trust matters. That we must learn from our past to truly understand our present. That each of us has the power to change the future.
So, before your next post, pause to think about what you are saying and what you are sharing. Or did you forget already?
#NeverForget #Respect #Freedom #USA #911 #Sept11 #History #Vote #Learn #United #Diversity