Recovering what we’ve forgotten

The continuous feed of ‘Never Forget’ only serves as a reminder of what we’ve forgotten.

I’ve struggled with sharing this, and it saddens me that I have.

Throughout the day, I’ve seen all the ’Never Forget’ pictures and posts.

While I’ve always felt a personal pain at our collective loss and an overwhelming gratitude to those who gave their lives to help others, not just on that day, but every day, I feel we’ve diminished the lasting impact of this national tragedy.

As I’ve written in previous years, it’s not enough for us just to remember, we must honor the memory.

Scrolling through these posts, while a touching tribute to those we’ve lost, I’m afraid we’ve lost much more than all those lives 18 years ago.  The continuous feed of Never Forget only serves as a reminder of what we’ve forgotten.

We have forgotten how to respect ourselves and each other.

We have forgotten how to communicate and listen to differing opinions, perspectives, and ideas.

We have forgotten to seek out the truth and disavow lies.

We have forgotten the value of education and the reasons to keep funding it.

We have forgotten the allies who stood with us in solidarity 18 years ago, and long before that, and now question our future alliances.

We have forgotten who our enemies are and allow petty disagreements and distractions to prevent tangible actions.

We have forgotten that we are still a country at war.

We have forgotten all those we have lost, not just fighting enemies on battlefields across the world, but by their own hands here at home.

We have forgotten that we do not elect leaders in our country, but representatives.

We have forgotten that elections matter, and we have a civic responsibility to participate fully in them.

We have forgotten that the strength in our Republic comes from our diversity and our unity.

We have forgotten our motto: E pluribus unum; out of many, one.

We have forgotten to honor our soldiers and have subjected them and their families to conflicting immigration laws and deportation, and watched silently as they struggle with physical and mental health issues, unemployment, homelessness, and hunger.

We have forgotten that supporting our troops extends to long after they are home.

We have forgotten that when we were attacked, we were all attacked, not liberals and conservatives from red and blue states, but Americans.

We have forgotten that the first responders, the volunteers, the helpers, the rescuers, and the supporters, we’re all welcome sights to those in distress, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, political views, citizenship, skin color, religion, or anything else.

We have forgotten that our rights come with responsibilities, and no one’s rights are greater than another’s.

We have forgotten that we are stronger together than we are divided.

We have forgotten what it means to be American, and to stand as a shining example for the rest of the world.

So rather than just ‘liking’ all these Never Forget posts, take action. Do something positive. Be kind. Show compassion.  Give of your time, treasury, or talent. Speak the truth and question those who don’t. Respect other opinions and beliefs and learn from them. Get involved in something meaningful to you. Learn the issues in your community and those you’ve elected to represent it. Educate yourself and vote your beliefs, not your party. Hug your family. Reach out to an old friend. Smile at a stranger. Make a difference.

We must truly never forget, not just that we were attacked, but who we are and what we stand for.

I am forever grateful for all those who continue to protect and defend these United States and all of us who live here.  Thank you to our first responders and all who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe and thank you to each of you for taking the time to read this tonight.

#NeverForget #USA #Remember #Respect #Honor #America #Freedom #UnitedStates #History #Community #Rights #Impact #TakeAction

Happy New Year

As 2016 draws to an end, I look back on a year filled with great friends, great controversy, great surprises, great loss, and great times.
I’m incredibly thankful for the diverse group of people I call friends, and even more thankful for the passionate discussions, debates, and conversations we have.  I am fortunate to have a wide array of perspectives, opinions, thoughts, and ideas that I can listen to.  I’m equally fortunate to have an audience to share my own perspectives with, as well.
Whether you believe we need to make America Great Again, or that America already is great, we have plenty of work ahead of us. Until no child dies of cancer, or goes to bed hungry, or has to sleep in a bathtub for fear of bullets, we have work to do.  Until no parent has to choose between healthcare and a roof over their head or food on the table, we have work.  Until our students and employees can compete successfully in a global economy, we have work.  We may differ on the methods, but we all agree that too many Americans suffer, too many are marginalized, and too many don’t feel that they truly have unalienable Rights.  Until every citizen believes that these truths are self-evident, and that we can learn to respect and understand those who are different than we are, we have work.
We are not a Nation of one, we are not all alike.  We have different backgrounds, beliefs, cultures, languages, thoughts, and ideas. We may be different, we should be different, but we can be united.
As we begin a new year, a new administration, and a new era, we shouldn’t put aside our differences, but embrace them.  It is only together that we can make a better America.
I look forward to learning more from each of you in 2017, and sharing my thoughts and opinions with you.  While I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, I do resolve to listen more.
May 2017 bring you, your families and friends, health, happiness, and prosperity.  Embrace the new year with the excitement you had as a child, without fear, but with hope.  A new year doesn’t necessarily bring change, but with an open mind, an understanding heart, and a passion in your beliefs, we can make things better.
Happy New Year!