Posts Tagged ‘George Washington’s Farewell Address’

Remembering 9/11. I’ve been pondering on this for most of the day. What are we to remember? And why? To what end? We each have our own personal memories of that fateful day. We can all remember where we were when we heard the news. We can all remember what we were doing. Most importantly, we all remember vividly how it made us feel…what our emotions and reactions were. And we all remember that things just didn’t seem to be the same for quite some time afterwards.

I remember how a nation…my nation, the land of my birth…turned to God and to prayer. I remember particularly the tolling of the bell on Temple Square a few days later when the president of our nation declared a National Day of Prayer and the leaders of my church presented devotional addresses and song in the historic tabernacle on Temple Square. I watched by television from my home far from Temple Square. The tolling of that bell brought a curious peace into my heart. I cannot tell why. I watched the video that was made of that devotional again today with my family. The tolling of that bell had the same peaceful effect upon me. I still cannot tell why. I do know that at that time, that devotional brought peace into my soul again. It grounded me and made me remember…there’s that word again…it helped me to remember the things that are most timeless and important in my life. My family, my God and religion, the sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ. I suppose that the things I was remembering were not at all unlike those that Captain Moroni hoped to get his people to remember at a particularly troubling time in his own nation’s history (see Alma 46:12). Remembering these things brought me great peace.

What else do I remember? I remember the sacrifice of those heroes of that particular day; their disregard for their own lives as they sought to help the injured and dying. Their sacrifice is…as all such sacrifices are…a mirror of the great sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ. He who died that we all might live again…that we all might be reunited with our loved ones. Yes, I remember the heroes of that day…such sacrifice requires great reverence on our parts…we who remember.

I also remember the freedom and liberty of our country…and I remember others…other great men and women…our founding fathers and mothers who in like manner sacrificed so much that we might enjoy the freedom and prosperity which we daily enjoy. They were not concerned only with their own comforts and needs…no, they had much greater views and were willing to sacrifice their own comforts and needs…even their very lives…for those greater views…for us, their children. They have bequeathed to us a great legacy of liberty. Do we appreciate it? Do we protect and perpetuate it? What will be our legacy to our children and grandchildren?

Having studied the Old Testament, I remember the children of Israel. Their’s was a long history of remembering and forgetting. We are so much like them. It reminds me of another scripture from modern day revelation, “In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me.” ( D&C 101: 8 ) Yes…we do that too…just like the children of Israel did anciently. We too have been promised over and over again in scripture that if we will turn to the Lord, we will prosper in the Land…but we so often forget.

The Father of our country counseled us in his farewell address,

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” (see George Washington’s Farewell Address).

I’ve heard a number of people comment on their memories of that day…how a nation seemed to pull together to comfort each other…and how a nation…our nation…also turned unashamedly to God and to prayer.

That is what I want to remember. That is what I want our nation to remember and to not forget. Love of God and of fellowman. (see Luke 10:27) Two quotes illustrate this for me today. Both are from the book One Bright Shining Hope by Gordon B. Hinckley.

“Each of us can do a little better than we have been doing. We can be a little more kind. We can be a little more merciful. We can be a little more forgiving. We can put behind us our weaknesses of the past and go forth with new energy and increased resolution to improve the world about us, in our homes, in our places of employment, in our social activities.”

Isn’t this one of the things that we all remember of that day? Isn’t this one of the things we seem to have forgotten? Let us remember again. And let our remembering motivate us to proper action.

This same prophet of God in these latter days has said,

“None of us is wise enough to make it on our own. We need the help, the wisdom, the guidance of the Almighty in reaching those decisions that are so tremendously important in our lives. There is no substitute for prayer. There is no greater resource.” (President Gordon B. Hinckley from his book One Bright Shining Hope). 

Prayer…no greater resource.

Yes, these are the things that I want to remember of that day…these are the things that I want to remind my children of…these are the things that I hope we will all remember.



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