It seems that each generation has a defining moment, a time when the axis of one’s life shifts and you are never quite the same again. It is an event that often rallies and unifies people. It is often marked by the phrase, “Where were you when …?” or “Remember the …”
For the people of Texas, it is the siege of the Alamo during March 2-6, 1836. The phrase, “Remember the Alamo,” became the watchword for Texas independence from Mexico.
“Remember the Maine” reminded the nation of the sinking of the battleship, U.S.S. Maine in the Havana, Cuba harbor on January 25, 1898. The phrase became the rallying cry of the Spanish-American war.
For my parents’ generation, it was the attack of the Japanese on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. “Remember Pearl Harbor” prompted the USA to enter into World War II.
For my generation, it was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, or the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969. Both were momentous, life-altering events.
For my children, it was the attack on September 11, 2001. On that day, al-Qaeda terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington, VA. A fourth attack was thwarted by the heroic efforts of the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93. The phrase, “Never Forget,” is used to remember those who lost their lives in those attacks. “Never forget 9/11” prompts a new generation to remember that the battle for liberty is ongoing.
“Remember when” or “Never forget” are teachable moments where we can share with our children the events, people, and values that shaped our lives. It is also an opportunity to talk about how our faith in Jesus Christ helps us to respond to crises such as these. We can follow the instructions in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 to teach our children so that they do not forget about God.
For Christ followers, the ultimate life changing event is summed up in the phrase, “Remember the cross.” It prompts us to reflect that Jesus paid the ultimate price for our freedom. If we put our faith and trust in him, we can be free from the penalty, guilt, and power of sin.