Five years after founding The Gratitude Campaign, I've received over 10,500 e-mails, and 1,500 comments on YouTube. It seems that there is a lot to talk about with regard to gratitude for those who serve; not the least of which is the ever present challenge of understanding how to keep the politics out of it. Hopefully this blog will give us an opportunity for some rational, reasonable, and respectful discussion. I hope you'll join us...

~Scott Truitt, FOUNDER


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On Never Forgetting

Forgive me follower, for I have sinned.  It has been five months since my last blog…
I tend to blog when the inspiration hits me.  And for whatever reason, the past five months have been busy with distractions and I haven’t been hit with any particular inspiration to share.  But it always happens eventually… and last night it did.
Back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s my wife and I loved the show Ally McBeal, and we recently rediscovered it on Netflix.  We’re currently in Season 5, and last night we watched an episode that aired around Christmas of Season 5.  This happened to be the first Christmas season after 9/11.
In this episode one of the partners in the law firm was trying a case wherein a mayor of a small town had decided to effectively “cancel Christmas” by not funding the typical town decorations, and not issuing any parade permits.  The story line was that the small town had had a rough year – a local plant had burned down, costing many of the townspeople their jobs and several firefighters had died in the fire.  The mayor determined that the town needed to mourn, and that it was not a time to be joyful and celebratory. 
This, along with another storyline in the episode, was clearly an analogy to 9/11, and it took me back to Christmas 2001.  I remember people debating whether we should be celebrating – whether it was appropriate, or whether it might be disrespectful to those who had lost so much. 
I remember feeling very determined not to let the terrorists win by destroying our spirit – by circumventing the desire to share our love for one another and to celebrate the season and our traditions, whether that be Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, Solstice...  whatever brings us together at that time of year.  And I remember finding a strange new interpretation of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas as we watched with new eyes, and saw that Christmas was about the love that we share for one another – not the presents, or the decorations, or the festivals.  And that the best way to observe that is to continue on with it even when it seems to have been taken away from us.
As John Cage, the attorney arguing the case, made his final arguments he talked about what a rough year it had been, and the firefighters who gave their lives for us, he said, “This is not a year for skipping Christmas.”  Tears streamed down my and my wife’s faces as we knew he was talking about 9/11 and not some fictional character in a fictional town. 
In Rob Thomas’ song “Little Wonders” he says:
Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain
 9/11, and the firsts that followed it – the first Thanksgiving, first Veteran’s Day, first Christmas, New Year... – were just such small hours.  And they still remain. 
We don’t have to live under the cloud of those moments 24/7/365 in order to honor those who died in the attacks or those who have served, suffered, and sacrificed since.  It's easy -- and ok -- to get caught up in our daily lives and to push those memories back into the attic storage of our minds.  But I hope that when those little reminders do appear as they did for my wife and me last night, that we’ll take the moment, just a moment, to connect with them, to say a prayer in whatever way we each do that, and to honor our promise to Never Forget.

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