Blog 2596 – 12.07.2022
Why Do We Memorialize Our Worst Days?
I was born in 1950 during the Korean War, but memories of the previous war were still strong in the minds of my young parents and theirs. The day that will “Live in infamy” as President Franklin D. Roosevelt described December 7, 1947, the day the the Japanese attacked Hawaii destroying 19 U.S Navy vessels docked at Pearl Harbor and killing 2,004 U.S personnel including 68 civilians, was one of our worst days and lead to even worse days for the Japanese, the fire bombing of Japan killing between 240,000 to 900,000 people which was far more destructive and took more lives than Pearl Harbor and even more than the two atomic bombs that were dropped by us on the Japanese less than four years later. (199,000 total deaths from those two bombs)
For the first thirteen years of my life Pearl Harbor Day was the day many remembered, the one most everyone of a certain age could tell you’re where they were and what they were doing when they first heard the terrible news. On my thirteenth birthday, November 22, 1963, that changed and a new terrible memorial day took it’s place, the day President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. Again everyone of a certain age could recall their whereabouts and activities on that fateful day.
On September 11th, 2001 both those two terrible memorial days took a back seat to a new tragedy, the day terrorists attacked and brought down the twin towers in New York City, also crashing an airliner into the Pentagon, and the terrorists had planned to do the same to the White House but brave passenger gave up their lives to prevent a fourth high jacked airliner from reaching its target.
Every day there are new tragedies vying to become the new big event that everyone memorializes. But why do we memorialize our worst days and not our best days? Why are the stories that capture our imaginations most always about murder, mayhem, and terror attacks? The encouraging words often go unheard in the noise of sirens and the broadcasts calling for retribution, revenge, and payback.
Violence only begets more violence. Some think that love goes against the natural law that states for every action there is and equal and opposite reaction. Does it really? The opposite of violence is peace. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called the children of God.”
Only love can settle accounts and we must not return evil for evil. To do so only adds fuel to the fire. It is not justice we want so much as grace, peace, and joy. These are never the results of and eye for an eye. That only ends in a loss of vision. The First World War was called The Great War, the War to end all Wars, till the Second World War came along.
Some say, “Those who fail to remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” Memorizing our worst days has not served to prevent us from making even worse ones. Focusing on what we want and not on what we don’t is how we manifest a better brighter tomorrow.
A war weary wiseman once said:
Your friend and fellow traveler,
“Thoughts become things, choose the good ones.”