08.31.2010 0

A Call for Memory

  • On: 09/15/2010 23:51:08
  • In: Uncategorized
  • By Gary Emineth

    We will always Remember
    We will always be proud.
    We will always be prepared

    So We will always be Free – Ronald Reagan

    In a culture of sound bytes and 30 second ads, there is a shortage of time and energy for Memory to form. I want to suggest that the solid formation of Memory could literally transform this country. To secure space for a memory bank where the rich deposits of life in a free country can be stored could well be the best investment you make in your lifetime. Let’s begin today, together on the 9th anniversary of 9/ll.

    Most Americans remember exactly where they were and what they were doing 9 years ago today. I was driving to catch a plane traveling to the west coast on business. But in the recent days leading up to the anniversary of this tragedy, I realize how much I have forgotten and it bothers me.

    It’s true that people have short memories. The woman who has just given birth forgets the unbearable pain and trauma of childbirth in the span of a few moments as she holds her newborn baby. The soldier rises to the reveille of a new day on the battlefield looking forward not backwards where fear and threat of death follow in pursuit. It’s not all bad to forget quickly!

    However, from the dawn of man’s existence, the historical accounts and religious traditions belie man’s forgetful nature. In every epoch and era, in word and picture, the counter to the amnesia of man is in the appeal to memory through various reminders, memorials and ancient rituals.

    These artifacts and annals speak loudly of the importance of Memory-Why? The past is past and can’t be changed. It can be too painful. It can be depressing. But the past is not simply a burden and history is not just a dustbin in which to throw unpleasant memories. Many have wrestled with this question and their thoughts are voices in the symphony of freedom which need to be heard.

    Memory is critical to the maintenance of freedom because memory keeps us connected to who we are.

    These words have been spoken, written and recorded in song, because, I believe, they resonate at the deepest level of human identity. If freedom were a protein, it would be found in the genetic make-up-coded in the complex structure of our DNA. Without it, we are simply less human than what is humanly possible.

    In today’s world, practical measures are needed to push back destructive forces threatening to undermine the transfer of this fragile gift of freedom to the next generation. “Freedom is only one generation away from extinction,” Ronald Reagan said often, “and we have to do a better job of getting it across to the young people.”

    A commitment like the one made by the lone survivor in a family devastated by Communism in Stalinist Russia is a start:

    “I am 82 years old and here I stand, living through it all again. I hear the voices of my wife and her mother. I can remember and recall them, each one. And if I remained alive, it is my duty to do so…”

    This letter I am writing is a call to memory-a reminder to remember what happened on this day 9 years ago. It is an invitation to stop and think of each person who died as a life inextricably connected to scores of other people, as someone who had hopes, and dreams and ideas.

    The scenes captured from that fateful day at Ground Zero have etched the message of heroism, self-sacrifice and respect for human life on my heart and I see it in the reactions of my teenage boys as they watch new slide shows which come across my e-mail. I want them to feel the pain of senseless violence and the impact of terrorism so that when they breathe the clear air of freedom, they do not take it for granted.

    As I have read accounts of the reign of Communist terror in Europe-particularly Russia-I have been struck by the scarcity of discussion on the topic of memory. There are no public museums and only one camp remains. Highways span mass graveyards where the remains of grandmothers, daughters, fathers, mothers and sons now lie.

    Lack of interest in the past has deprived the Russians of Heroes as well as victims. The loss of history leaves a void in the hearts of the people.

    In order to prepare for the future, the past must be studied, analyzed and understood. Stories must be found and told-again and again. Our voices must be the voice of those who cannot speak for themselves.

    Today let these thoughts roll around in your mind and as you remember where you were on that day 9 years ago, stop and give thanks that you are alive and are abundantly blessed as an American.

    Join me as I remember my way into a brighter future for America!

    Your fellow freedom-lover,
    Gary Emineth

    Gary Emineth has served as Chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party since 2007. He blogs at http://garyemineth.com.

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