"Never forget” is a phrase that has been part of our lexicon since the Holocaust, and more recently we also have attached it to the horrific 9/11 terror attacks.
We should never forget atrocities that have affected humankind. We should revere our soldiers and police officers who consistently work to prevent another 9/11-type tragedy. We should never forget. I will never forget.
I also will never forget the outpouring of humanity that came after the terror attacks, or that in the aftermath people viewed each other as humans. We did not consider race, religion or sexual orientation in our relationships with one another. We were one.
Then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani was a model for what a leader should be in a time of crisis. He was calm and asked us not to attack each other, saying that Christians, Jews and Muslims all went to work that day, just to do their jobs. We needed to direct our anger at the perpetrators, he said. Did we forget?
Today, we live in an ideologically divided country. I am a Democrat, and the reason I am is because of ideology. What I am not is someone who will hate others for their beliefs. How can I? How can I hate half the country, half of my relatives or half of my friends? We argue, sure. But, I still love them.
There are many Republicans I admire in my community. Should I hate any of them because of their ideology? I will argue with many of them that a woman should receive pay equal to a man, that assault weapons should be banned and that people of any sexual orientation should be allowed to serve in the military. I may go home shaking my head with frustration, but I won’t go home with hate in my heart.
We align ourselves with politicians based on our views. These people may not have the purest motives at heart (start rolling your eyes). Why should many of them spark division? We are too similar in our needs and wants to let them do this to us.
We can’t forget. We can’t forget that we are all human. And we shouldn’t wait for the next natural disaster or mass shooting to realize that. “Never forget” that we are one.
Richard Woods is an author of two books on Oceanside and a retired Oceanside High School science teacher.