When first they appeared, I wondered how long they would remain in the windows and on the marquees and even on t-shirts. If they remained for two years, I thought it would be a wonder. I wasn't - I'm sad to say - surprised when the majority of these signs came down after the first anniversary of that dark day and now, just eleven years later, you would be hard pressed to find them in the windows of any home. Only a few businesses still maintain this reminder.
I was taken aback this morning to see that in the "pre-packaged" petitions used by the parish at which I celebrated Mass this morning contained no reference at all to the terrorist attacks (such a mention could easily have been done without it becoming political). I was also taken aback that the number of the faithful present for the celebration of the Holy Mass was no greater today than on any other Tuesday. Have we forgotten so soon?
It is true that Americans (or at least the mainlanders; many of the Hawaiians still refer to Queen Lili'oukalani as "the Queen," though she died in 1917), as a general rule, do not have - and have not had - a long memory. We quickly - and contentedly - forget the events of the past, even those important events that happened within our lifetimes.
We were told that September 11, 2001 changed our culture and society, and changed it for the better. It brought us together, we said, and reminded us of the importance of family and faith and freedom. How truly life-changing was this day if we have already all but forgotten?
I don't have the answer to this question, and I won't pretend to have it. I offer this question, simply as something for each of us to think and pray about.
On this sad anniversary, may the Lord keep us close to himself, may he welcome into Paradise those whose lives were taken, and may God bless America.