And it came to pass that thus passed away the ninety and fifth year also, and the people began to forget those signs and wonders which they had heard, and began to be less and less astonished at a sign or a wonder from heaven, insomuch that they began to be hard in their hearts, and blind in their minds, and began to disbelieve all which they had heard and seen—
2 Imagining up some vain thing in their hearts, that it was wrought by men and by the power of the devil, to lead away and deceive the hearts of the people; and thus did Satan get possession of the hearts of the people again, insomuch that he did blind their eyes and lead them away to believe that the doctrine of Christ was a foolish and a vain thing.
3 And it came to pass that the people began to wax strong in wickedness and abominations; and they did not believe that there should be any more signs or wonders given; and Satan did ago about, leading away the hearts of the people, tempting them and causing them that they should do great wickedness in the land.
3 Nephi 2:1-3
Now it came to pass that there were many of the rising generation that could not understand the words of king Benjamin, being little children at the time he spake unto his people; and they did not believe the tradition of their fathers.
2 They did not believe what had been said concerning the resurrection of the dead, neither did they believe concerning the coming of Christ.
Today is September 11th. That means quite a lot to an American audience. It was 8 years ago that we witnessed a terrible terrorist attack right here, in our own country. We had heard for years about bombings and explosions and whatnot in other countries, but it all seemed so foreign to us, it could never happen here. And then it did.
But that was 8 years ago. It’s in the past. I look around today, and there are some vestiges of remembrance, flags are flown at half-staff today, there was a moment of silence in my class this morning, I read an article or two online about remembering, but that seems to be it. For the most part we have forgotten. We don’t really remember what it felt like to live through that day. The horror, the terror, the unknowing-ness that we experienced are gone. I am reminded of the Nephites, as quoted in the first verses above, they had seen a miracle, witnessed an event of astronomical wonder. A day and a night and a day without any darkness, as if it were one day. And then 5 years later, they “began to forget” or worse “began to be less and less astonished at a sign or a wonder from heaven”. I always marveled at those verses, wondering how a people could forget something as spectacular as that, and then I look around at our country today and I begin to understand. We to have begun to forget, or worse, we’re beginning to be less and less astonished at terrorist attacks, at news of bombings and killings and death.
Of course, I am speaking of us collectively, as a nation, because I know full-well that individually many of us remember. I have a good friend who grew up in the Bronx, whose family was there in New York that day. I had the opportunity to act with him in a play he wrote about his remembrances and experiences, and those of his family. To talk with him, to act with him in this play was truly emotionally draining. I had heard actors talk about a role being emotionally draining before, but hadn’t quite understood, it was just repeating lines and walking back and forth, how could that be draining? It wasn’t until I was in this play, titled 6 for the 6 stories that it told and having been written 6 years later, that I understood. To portray that part, of a father not knowing where his children were, if they were safe or not, while still trying to maintain a positive front in order to support his wife was hard. To do that again and again and again, without becoming jaded with it, to keep it fresh and new each time, because to the audience it was new, was even harder.
I must admit, I had very little personal experience to draw from. I felt much like the ‘rising generation’ spoken of in the second scriptural passage above. I was a little too young at the time to fully grasp the situation, and I was not personally affected. I grew up in Seattle, Washington. A whole continent away. I had never been to NY, never seen the Twin Towers, never even known anybody who lived there. It wasn’t really real to me at the time. People kept saying it was like watching a movie, being stuck there glued to the TV. For me, it was. It was just as real as watching one of those disaster movies, I had the same emotional connection, or lack of one, I guess.
So where am I going with all of this? I really don’t know. Today is just one of those days that requires some quiet reflection and deep thought. I needed to write something, to get these thoughts down and out in the open. Do with them what you will.