Where were you? Do you remember?
A mother and her two young daughters were getting ready to spend the day shopping. Her husband, their father, was preparing to leave for work. A newlywed couple was enjoying a late breakfast on their honeymoon. A freshman college student was walking to the first class of the day, laughing with a friend. A sophomore high school student was in a heated debate in a US History class. A husband was on a plane, thinking about his wife, who was taking the subway to meet a friend for breakfast. They had only had time for a quick kiss before going their separate ways that morning, never thinking it may be their last. A son was hard at work, having arrived early to prepare for an important presentation that morning. A daughter was joking with a co-worker, while preparing to go live with her scheduled news broadcast. Where were you? Where were you when the news broke at 8:45 am EDT, on Tuesday, September 11, 2001?
Do you remember the confusion of not knowing what had happened? Do you remember the dismay, confirming suspicions, when the second plane hit? Do you remember the fear of not knowing the next target, if there was a next target? Do you remember the terror of not being able to reach your family? Do you remember the chaos of organizing the immense rescue? Do you remember the shock of realizing nothing would ever be the same? Do you remember the struggle to understand? Do you remember? Do you remember?!
I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me;
the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
(Psalm 18:1-6 ESV)
David knew confusion. He knew dismay. He knew fear, terror, chaos, shock and struggle. David experienced these emotions while running for his life from Saul and, later, from his own son, yet he also expressed a faith in the steadfastness of the Lord. Many of David’s psalm cry out to the Lord for help. It is a cry many echoed in the days, weeks, months, and years since Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:20-23, ESV)
Jeremiah certainly knew what it was like to be attacked in your home by a foreign nation. He knew what it was like to lose an iconic building in an iconic city; to look at an iconic skyline and see it altered forever. It is not something he forgot. It is not something we can forget. It is not something to be forgotten. Jeremiah weeped over what had been lost and what was yet to come, yet he still praised the steadfastness of the Lord.
Tuesday, September 11, 2001, shocked this nation and the world. For the first time since World War II, we were attacked on our home soil, an experience shared by David and Jeremiah in their time. We cried out to God for help and for healing, just as David and Jeremiah did. But did we remember the rest?
Throughout all the suffering and all the questions, David and Jeremiah always remembered to turn to the Lord. They remembered to praise the Lord for His steadfastness. David frequently, in the midst of his turmoil, praised the Lord for getting him through. You see, David knew that although he may not see or understand, the Lord had a plan!
It has been 15 years since two planes crashed into the World Trade Center towers. Fifteen years since a plane crashed into the Pentagon. Fifteen years since a group of people, knowing the only outcome for them was death, chose to fight back and crash their plane in a field instead of its intended destination. Do you still remember?
We are no longer in the same place we once were, feeling desperate and scared. Church attendance, which spiked significantly after the attacks on September 11, 2001, has nearly returned to what it was before the attacks. Many no longer feel the pressing need to turn to the Lord, yet it is now that we need Him. Israel thought that because they were experiencing a time of prosperity and peace that they did not need the Lord. They fell because they turned away from the Lord, returning to Him only in times of need. Will we fall the same way? We must remember to focus on the Lord, to place Him at the front of our lives, to turn to Him in times of tragedy and in times of joy and peace.
Do you remember?
It was a hot, sticky, humid day Philadelphia, Pennsylvania when they gathered. They were dressed for work, in an early version of a suit and tie. The building they occupied contained no central air and the stench indicated that many could have used a bath, however there were much weightier matters on their minds than the heat, the stench, or their clothes. The men were gathered together for a vote, a vote which could change the future forever, a vote which could have a devastating and deadly outcome, a vote that would endanger their very lives, and many others. They were the members of the Second Continental Congress and the vote was for independence against Great Britain. By that vote, and later, the signing the Declaration of Independence, the men were also authorizing their own death warrants, should the bid for American Independence fail.
Today, these men are remembered as brave and ambitious men, who had an integral part in making the United States of America a nation free from tyranny and oppressive rule. We remember these men every July 4. We celebrate with cookouts, fireworks, swimming, friends, and family. What could be better?
On that hot and sticky day in Philadelphia, those men gathered to overthrow the oppressive rule that was suffocating them, kicking off the American Revolutionary War. It was not the first revolutionary war, nor would it be the last. Yet no matter how many wars for independence are raged, we will continue to live in a world of oppression: the oppression of sin. Since sin entered this world, we are slaves to it. By ourselves, we can never win the war against sin. However, it is a war we do not have to fight, because it has already been decided.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed," (Luke 4:18)
Jesus answered them,“Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:32-34, ESV)
Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to this earth as a man. He encountered the same temptations we face every day. He fought the war against sin. And He won! Jesus won the war through His death and resurrection. Through belief in Him, eternal salvation from sin is given. The war against sin has already been decided, it is now up to us to determine who we support.
We can continue to live our lives as we choose, as a slave to sin, or we can accept the gift of independence (salvation) through Jesus Christ. With salvation, we will continue to fight battles against sin every day, and some battles will be lost, but we can take heart that the war has already been won!
As you gather with friends and family this July 4, celebrate this nation's independence, and consider your own independence. Have you been set free from the oppression of sin?
It is 1963.The Supreme Court of the United States has removed prayer from public school.Now, it is January 14, 1969.America is in the midst of the hotly contested Vietnam War.Daily, images are shown on televisions and in papers of war protesters burning, trampling, and disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.
Richard Bernard Skelton, better known simply as Red Skelton, was a well-known comedian, hosting his own comedic television and radio shows for 30 years.For Red, January 14 was show-day.In a change from his normal comedic acts, Red took a five minute break from comedy to address a more serious issue.Red reflected back to his childhood, while he was still in school, and shared the following story:
"I remember this one teacher. To me, he was the greatest teacher, a real sage of my time. He had such wisdom. We were all reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and he walked over. Mr. Lasswell was his name. He said; 'I've been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester, and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word:
I: me, an individual, a committee of one.
PLEDGE: dedicate all my worldly goods to give without self-pity.
ALLEGIANCE: my love and devotion.
TO THE FLAG: our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom.
Wherever she waves, there is respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody's job.
OF THE UNITED: that means that we have all come together.
STATES: individual communities that have united into 48 great states.
Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that's love for country.
OF AMERICA AND TO THE REPUBLIC: a state in which sovereign power is vested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.
FOR WHICH IT STANDS
ONE NATION: meaning, so blessed by God.
INDIVISIBLE: incapable of being divided.
WITH LIBERTY: which is freedom and the right of power to live one's own life without threats or fear or some sort of retaliation.
AND JUSTICE: the principle or quality of dealing fairly with others.
FOR ALL: which means it's as much your country as it is mine.
Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance: 'under God.'
Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said, 'That is a prayer,' and that would be eliminated for schools, too?'
June 14 is annually celebrated in the United States of America as Flag Day.It is a day that we remember and commemorate that adoption of the flag of the United States, which occurred on June 14, 1777, just under a year after declaring Independence from England. The flag represents our country.It serves as a reminder of all who have died so that we may live freely.
Happy Flag Day!
 This was first broadcast on:
From The Red Skelton Hour, CBS TV, January 14, 1969.
COPYRIGHT 1969 RICHARD RED SKELTON