Friday, November 9, 2018

A Thought on the Purpose of Remembering Tragedy

Why do we take the time to remember horrible things that have happened in the past?
Why do we build monuments to remind ourselves of attacks, deaths, and mistakes?

For example, 9/11 stands in every American's mind as a day to remember the terrorist attack on our own soil in 2001. Each year we see videos and pictures and hear stories. Why?
Photo of 9/11 attacks, from The National Interest

What about Pearl Harbor Day on December 7, where we pause to remember the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, bringing the United States into WW2?
Why do we take the time to remember those who lost their lives on this day?
Picture of Pearl Harbor, from Wikipedia

Or how about this one. Why do we have monuments all over the country commemorating the Revolutionary War and those who died for our freedom?
Bunker Hill Monument, Picture
from Wikipedia

Why is it that we take the time to remember these tragedys each and every year, or each and every time we see the monument?

This coming Monday is Veterans day. A day to remember those who have fought (and some have died) for our freedom. Why do we take that time to remember and honor them?

Why bother?

First, to learn. If there was a mistake on our part that caused this event, learn from it. 

They say history repeats itself until we learn our lessons. If we don't learn more about keeping ourselves safe or about the importance of freedom, isn't it possible these types of horrors will occur again...and again...and again until we learn?

Possible, yes.

Here's another reason to take the time and remember the bad things. If we never remember the bad things, will we ever appreciate the good things? 

Think about it. We don't really appreciate our working car until it breaks down and doesn't work anymore. Then we are beyond grateful for the car...and the mechanic who can fix it!

Are we thankful for the departments in the US Government that work for our security and safety, making sure (to the best of their abilities) that we won't be attacked again? Honestly, we don't think about it until a breach of security happens, like 9/11. And then every year, when the anniversary of that breach comes around, we remember. And we should be thankful for the way our government and our troops protect us. 

There is, perhaps, a third reason why stopping to remember these horrible things is a good idea. It reminds us to turn to Jesus. He is the only one who really guarantees our safety. He is in control, no matter what happens in this life.
Photo by Hugues de BUYER-MIMEURE on Unsplash

Coupled with that, it reminds us that he is coming back. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, we think as we remember these horrible things that happen because we live in a sin-filled world.

So as you remember tragedy, as you remember horrible things that have happened in our country's past, or even in your own life, take the time to learn, be thankful, and draw near to Jesus.


  1. Wow! That was very profound! Appropriate for both Veterans' Day and Thanksgiving!