By DANNY MINTON
Tradition in Texas History states that Sam Houston addressed his men on April 19, 1836, as they prepared for the “Battle of San Jacinto” with the words “Remember the Alamo.” Many of his men had friends in the battle at San Antonio and were anxious to take revenge. A little over a hundred years later, there would be another battle cry that spread across the nation. It is first attributed to Commander Lewis Preston Harris becoming the slogan for WWII in the Pacific. “Remember Pearl Harbor” would be on the lips of thousands of soldiers.
I remember sitting with a group of my fellow football teammates in 1965, preparing for the state playoffs. The year before, we had been in the same situation. We had a great team but failed to have the focus to move forward. We reminded ourselves to remember the year before as we placed our emphasis on the task at hand.
As I write this, the date is September 11, 2021. It is the 20th anniversary of a day those of us old enough to remember will never forget. We know where we were when we heard the news. The pictures are firm in our minds. There are always things that stick in our minds that we never forget, even if we try. I remember where I was when the first draft for Vietnam took place. I remember where I stood when President Kennedy was assassinated and watching the space shuttle explode on takeoff. I remember where I was when our son died and so many other family members over the years.
As my thoughts pondered the things that came to my mind, my thoughts turned to some interesting facts. Approximately 35 percent of the U.S. population was either not alive or too young to remember September 11, 2001. Over 60 percent have no memory of the Vietnam war, and close to 99 percent only know of WWII through the movies and history books. As the years pass, we easily forget the things of the past that shape who we have become. When we ignore those things of the past, whether good or bad, we can quickly lose sight of why we have become who we are in life.
Some of the past that I remember are things that I’m ashamed of or regret that were part of my life. I’ve used those events to better form who I have become, hopefully, to be a better person. Living in the present is essential, but we must not forget the past. If we do, we become destined to repeat some of the same mistakes.
There was another occurrence of “remember” that happened a couple of thousand years ago. It happened at an evening meal when Jesus stood up, broke bread, and quietly told his friends, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Precisely 100 percent of us were not there at the time. Like so many of those who know about WWII, Vietnam, or September 11 through film and books, the event of that night 2000 years ago we know about it only in what we read.
We must never forget what Jesus did for us those centuries ago. We remember Him through our Bible study and communing with Him as we fellowship. Not only should we remember, but we must teach our children and teach them to teach their children, so future generations never forget. It’s not just His death, but His life and how we should pattern our lives after Him that should be taught. We should never forget.
Moses told the Israelites to teach their children about God and His commands. After giving the commandments at Mt. Sinai, they were told, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Then, in order not to forget, they were taught, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NIV2011)
We should never forget what we have gone through to get where we are today. That is the only way we can set a path ahead to continue the good and prevent from making the mistakes of the past.
Never forget and always, “Remember!”
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ