Remembering

You Forgot to Remember

Some of you might not yet know that I have an interest in old songs.  Something happened that reminded me of an old song.  I had almost forgotten it, oddly, because the main line in the song is:

You promised to forget me not, but you forgot to remember.

The song was very popular and I have no idea who first recorded it.  Both Frank Sinatra and Dinah Shore had recordings and likely half a dozen more had successful recordings.

Its words do suggest a twist, so to speak.  Nonetheless, it has happened to me a few times.  I have promised to do something, only to forget to remember.  Then too, how about all the friends I used to know who have become faint memories.

Sometimes, I think about looking them up, but I can’t remember their last names.  I only called them by their first names.  Besides, at 72, I don’t remember so well and I had a bad memory for names in the first place.

I thought over the song and figured we have many reasons why we forget things.

First, memories fade.  To some degree, this is a good thing.  Many bad things happen to us and the memory fading does help us cope with them in the end.  Though, it does not always work that way.  My mother died when I was five and I remember every detail as if it were yesterday.  Oddly, it does cause me more grief today than then.  I won’t try to figure it out, other than it is something of a comfort to me too.

Second, memories that are handed down from one generation to the next are rarely incompletely passed along.  In the case of Israel, one generation would learn to obey the God.  Then the next generation would forget him and practice the exact things God told them not to.

Today, nations build statues and memorials.  Whenever I see a statue of someone, it reminds me of what the person did and just why I should remember him.  We also have memorials for WWII and Vietnam War.  Some of us remember.  Some don’t.  Some would prefer to forget the Vietnam War.  They consider it a dark part of our history.

Then again, I got to thinking of the Trade Towers.  It has been but 20 years and already people are forgetting.  They forget the way people jumped, knowing it was a choice of dying by fire or by the fall.  Most preferred the fall.  Each time a person hit the ground it made a distinct thud.

It is as I said, the memories do fade.  Then too it has been a generation.  The history teachers likely spend no more than a day or two about it.  The younger people don’t realize the full scale of what happened and the whys and wherefores.

Even for those who see the memorial, it does not set in the mind the way the actual experience does.  For those who don’t see the memorial, it is even easier to forget.

On the day of the event and for many days after, many promised to forget it not.  The problem is that they forgot to remember.

A few days ago we pulled out of Afghanistan.  Very few even know why we went in there.  Regardless, it was long ago.  Why should we be bothered with it today?

Let me tell you a little story and it just might suggest why we should remember.

In 1968 I graduated boot camp at MCRD San Diego.  Eventually, I was given orders to go to NAS Memphis.  On arrival at LAX, I checked my baggage and went straight back to the gate.  No one asked me for a ticket.  No one cared.  If I had wanted I could have gone to the gate without any need to travel.

You can’t do that today.  You have to show your boarding pass and ID to get to the gate, and by the way, you must also submit to a complete search.

Some say we have stopped terrorism, but we haven’t.  They have succeeded at their goal.  They have disrupted our way of living.  They have all but destroyed our way of life.

So now, my family cannot see me off or meet me at the gate and I can’t take my fingernail clippers along with me.

We need to remember.  We must not forget to remember.  If nothing else, maybe that extra line at the airport will help remind us each time we take a plane.

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