I Can’t Forget; But I Can Learn

Most days are relatively uneventful; some are totally so. Then there are a few that will stick with you for the rest of your life. I’m a baby boomer and therefore wasn’t around on Sunday, December 7, 1941. However, I was on Friday, November 22, 1963 and Tuesday, September 11, 2001 along with Wednesday, January 6, 2021. I will never forget any of them.


On November 22, 1963 my class had just returned from an assembly when our teacher informed us that Kennedy had been assassinated. Fortunately for her dismissal soon followed.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was in Tarpon Springs, Florida talking to the owner of my largest account when a salesrep from a competitor (I can’t call the man a rival; I perceived him as a friend) informed us of the first tower being hit.

Once home after both of those events I was pretty much glued to the television as were most Americans.

On January 6, 2021 I was already retired, for some reason turned on the television in my upstairs living room and to my amazement saw the events unfold. This was smack in the worst part of the pandemic and I seldom left the house. My wife was downstairs with a very close friend who was equally as cautious as us with respect to COVID-19. I repeatedly ran up and down the stairs to inform them as things escalated until they decided I wasn’t the boy crying wolf and turned on a TV themselves.

I went to a college that had a disproportionately high percentage of both Jewish students and faculty. A common discussion among them (the younger faculty) was when would their elders quit talking about the Holocaust. They felt those days were over.

Later in my political work I often worked with large numbers of African-Americans. Many of the younger adults didn’t really want to hear more about slavery and Jim Crow. They felt those days were over.

While they need not be 24/7, some things are such big deals that we need frequent reminders/teaching of them. They may well be over but there is nothing other than we the people to prevent them from reoccurring.

Some on the American political right just want us all to forget about 1/6. You have to ask yourself why. They say we need to put it behind us and move on. After all it was a failure. The issue is that forgetting will play right into the hands of those gearing up for 1/6 II in plain sight.

We need to expose all the ugliness of that event. (It was much larger and complex than a single afternoon!) To date, the 1/6 Committee had done an outstanding job of both investigation and informing the public. It is making a difference (more about that in a future article).
In life we learn (or at least should) from our mistakes. In the wake of Watergate, Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon. Many (and I was among them at that time) agreed with Ford that the chapter was over and the nation needed to heal and move on. The result of that was 1/6 which was exponentially worse. Nixon was going to win in 1972 with or without Watergate; Trump almost overthrew the American government in the wake of a 2020 electoral defeat. We need to learn from that mistake and hold all responsible for 1/6 criminally accountable including Donald Trump.

I can neither forget certain days in American history nor desire to repeat the same mistake.

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