Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What to Remember and What to Forget

Yesterday, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were slain in a terror attack against our consulate in Benghazi, Libya. While the attack appears to have been pre-planned, the terrorists took advantage (or potentially stoked) anti-American protests over a bigoted film denigrating Islam. Meanwhile, protests in Egypt over the film turned ugly as demonstrators scaled the walls of our embassy and tore apart the American flag.

Yesterday was also the day we vowed to never forget the attacks of 11 years ago. And there is much that we should never forget. We should never forget the heroism of firefighters climbing up stairways and diplomats serving under fire. We should never forget the common bond we share as Americans and how that bond is strengthened by our differences. We should never forget our perseverance as a nation and the image of an American flag rustling above the rubble. We should never forget our founding principles as a nation that should guide us in everything we do. We should never forget the sacrifices made by our fellow Americans serving in our military and diplomatic corps. Most of all, we should never forget the fallen and the families they left behind.

Yesterdal also proved to be the day that we should forget some things. To those who seek political advantage in the face of national tragedy, forget you. To those who spew venomous hatred against others, forget you too. And to those who feed the spiral of extremism by responding to bigotry with violence, forget you most of all. We have so many better things to remember than you.