Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lest We Forget …


Every generation and each individual lives through a moment of national importance that makes global impact and changes the world forever. Some generations witness several such moments which they can recall and tell you exactly where they were when it happened, or where they were when they heard.

As a little boy I remember hearing my grandparents recall where they were when they heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor and my Aunts and Uncles remembering where they were when they heard that World War II was over. I had a similar experience as a young boy when President John Kennedy was assassinated.

It was like a moment frozen in time … where the world stands still and pays respect to a day that changes everything. These monumental moments for mankind should be remembered and never forgotten by those who lived through them and by the generations to come.

Certainly life is more than a moment however, one moment can change everything!

Days of remembrance have been retold throughout history concerning events which left an indelible mark on mankind. Such global impact which used to take weeks, months and even years to spread the news throughout the land, now takes only milliseconds via the World Wide Web.

It is in respect of our need to remember that I have chosen 3 world changing events and will ask two questions concerning each for you to consider.

The first question: Where were you when …?

The second question: Where are you because …?

Our first moment …

Where were you when …?

(Begin Video of the Moon Landing – Moon 1 & 2)

Neil Armstrong

Michael Collins

Buzz Aldrin

Where were you when the Eagle landed that Sunday afternoon in July? I was a 14 year old boy glued to the television, as were all Americans I supposed. I felt like I was a part of something bigger than myself, bigger than my community … something that would change the world.

And change it did!

Apollo 11 Moon Mission landed - July 20, 1969 – 4:17pm EDT with only 30 seconds of fuel remaining. Just over 6 hours later, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon – One small step for man, One giant leap for mankind!

(Moon 2 Pause – with earth on the horizon)

As He gazed up into the heavens he saw earth in a way that no man had ever seen it before … and it changed the way we all see it today. One moment changed everything.

Perhaps you know where you were when … but do you realize where you are because?

Where are you because of the Apollo Space Program and the push to put a man on the moon?

That moment changed the world forever and most of you have evidence to that fact right in your pocket or purse … (Moon 2 - Play)

I am referring to your cell phones.

Cell phones with texting and video on demand …

The Space Shuttle Program and advanced aeronautics

Personal computers and memory storage capabilities at our fingertips

Micro chips which enable electronics to perform amazing functions

Re-chargeable batteries on everything from watches to cordless drills

GPS and Moving Maps to keep us on track

Communications Technologies for First Responders

Satellite TV and Microwave Capabilities

Memory Foam you sleep on each night

Microwaves for cooking and sterilization

Cushion Inserts & High Tech Athletic and Medical Footwear

Protective suits and emergency protective gear

Non scratch lens for advanced eyewear and microscope use

Medical breakthroughs and advanced digital technologies

Even Pampers and other disposable products which serve us today

Portable and personal filtered water purification systems

Robotics and remote controlled devices to save time and provide safety

As well as the continued exploration of our solar system and beyond

From the launching of more satellites to the building of the space station

Even smoke alarms for protection of families, homes and businesses

Plastics and re-sealable containers such as Tupperware and zip-lock bags

From the technology which launches the space shuttle to the World Wide

Web and the great information highway

From the breathing apparatus used by our fire fighters to the protective gloves they wear

(Pause and Freeze Frame on the Firefighter then slowly fade)

All of these and more were brought to you by the space program. You are where you are today because of one moment frozen in time.

Just this week a satellite in low orbit around the moon was able to photograph and send back pictures of the footprints, rover tacks and a lunar landing module base still visible and intact on the surface of our nighttime friend. The moon landing, one moment that changed a world.

The second world changing event we are going to look at took place ten years ago this morning.

Where were you when al-Qaeda terrorists launched an all out attack against America on Tuesday morning, September 11th, 2001?

(Play 9-11 Video)

19 al-Qaeda terrorist high-jacked 4 airliners on that morning …

American Airlines Flight 11 –

Crashed into the WTC North Tower at 8:46am

United Airlines Flight 175 –

Crashed into WTC South Tower at 9:03am

American Airlines Flight 77 –

Crashed into the western side of the Pentagon at 9:37am

United Airlines Flight 93 –

Crashed into the countryside near Shanksville, PA at 10:03am

As we number the victims:

World Trade Center Victims

2,349 Civilians

343 New York City Fire Department Firefighters

23 New York City Police Officers

37 Port Authority Officers

Pentagon Victims

125 Civilian and Military Personnel

4 Airliners

253 Crew and Passengers

(Pause Video 9-11 on chart of faces)

A total of 2,976 Victims

2,740 Americans - along with -

236 Foreigners representing 70 Countries and every major religion

That day stunned America and changed a world forever.

Where were you when you heard about that attack?

It was a few minutes before 8 here in Texas and I had just walked into the house from an early morning breakfast appointment with a church member. We had another family living with us and a visiting house guest. Brenda called for me to come into our bedroom where they were gathered around the television having just heard about a plane crashing into the WTC. I began watching a few minutes before seeing the second plane hit.

I know where I was when … but I also see where we are because …

Where are we because of that attack?

(Continue Play of Video 9-11)

We are bringing help and restoring hope to a world torn apart by radical factions of an insane ideology.

The attack on America that day, like the attack on Pearl Harbor 60 years earlier, caused a swell in American Pride and Patriotism, drawing young men and young women to volunteer and enlist in the Armed Services, signing up to stand up and protect and defend our great nation, laying their lives on the line for the ideals we all hold dear.

From Afghanistan to Iraq to Pakistan and around the globe, we have hunted down those responsible for that horrible attack and waged a war against terrorism in all forms, in every nation, at home and abroad.

We have postured ourselves to defend ourselves and protect our land, our families and our resources.

We continue to raise patriotic Americans who hold themselves accountable for the safety and security of the day. Not once since 9-11 have we failed to meet any challenge offered by our enemy. We have decided that the attack on 9-11, like the attack on Pearl Harbor the morning of December 7, 1941, will never happen again. And we know, it is up to us to ensure that it does not.

So, we put up with and even applaud the extra security measures at airports, national parks and our borders, along with the sending of our troops to serve at home and abroad in defense of our nation’s best interests.

We are not yet where we are going, but we know that with God’s help, we will accomplish our goals and bring our troops back home once again.

(Pause on last frame of Video then fade here)

It saddened me to hear that the 9-11 Memorial Service held this morning at Ground Zero in NYC had no Clergy, no Firefighters, no Police Officers, and no Port Authority Officers on the list of invited guests. Mayor Bloomberg gave two reasons for his decision to keep these people away:

First he said that there was not enough room.

Then he cited separation of Church and state.

Let me say:

Separation of Church and State is written nowhere in the Constitution of the United States or referenced in even one founding document. The concept had its inception sternly centered on keeping Government out of the Church’s business but never intending that the Church should stay out of the Government’s business. The earliest argument concerning Separation of Church and State never suggested separation of God and Government or separation of religious conviction from political platform.

And, as for there not being enough room …

There seemed to be more than enough room for a parade of politicians on that platform, politicians who were not there on that day, did not lose comrades, did not respond in the days afterward, as did our church all the way from Texas, along with many other churches, who set up prayer and assistance centers around the city, giving counsel, offering help and touching lives which were torn apart and looking for answers.

Where are we because of 9-11 … I hope we are at a better place than some of our politicians. The world has no tolerance for political correctness in such times as these. We need bold and courageous leaders.

The third event we are going to look at in closing today affects not only this world, but the world to come.

(Play Cross 1 Video)

Where were you on the day Jesus gave His life as a ransom for mankind? Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

2000 years ago Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God and Son of Man, promised Messiah of the Jews and Savior of the world, willing gave His life on the cruel cross of Calvary to pay for the sins of each man, woman, boy and girl. He stayed on the cross until He finished the job, then He died.

He offered Himself as a ransom and payment for the penalties due each one of us. He took your sins upon Himself and set you free forever.

Where were you on that day? You were there with Him, in His heart and on His mind. No doubt Jesus saw you while He hung on that cross.

Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

It is certain that you were with Jesus on the cross that day and that you died and were buried with Him. However, that was not the end of the story. Three days later, you were also resurrected with Him.

(Play Cross 2)

Where are you because of that day?

We live in a world that was forever changed by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Christians have taken the message of the Kingdom of God and salvation through Christ to the whole world so that the Good News of the Gospel now covers the earth.

Our forefathers paid a price to establish this great nation upon the principles of the Bible and have accepted the challenge of the Great Commission to spread the good fortune and favor of God’s blessings to every person in every generation without respect as to their culture, customs or the color of their skin.

We have truly been blessed and we are truly a blessing. From the institutions of higher learning such as Yale and Harvard, which were primarily founded to train clergy for the ministry, to the great tent revivals of Oral Roberts and Billy Graham, America has taken God seriously and God has indeed blessed our efforts.

Where are we today because of the cross? We are:

One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all!

In Joshua’s day, he made a declaration:

Joshua 24:15 As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

This is my declaration today: I am first a Christian. Born again by the blood of Jesus Christ, sanctified by the Word of God and filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. However, next to being a Christian – I am foremost a proud American.

I believe in God and I believe in my country as a blessed gift from Him. And, I pledge to both, my life, my fortune and my sacred honor.

I want to invite those of who will to stand with me on this day of remembrance and join me as I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America in honor of those victims of 9-11 and those who serve in this cause as we remember and pledge to never forget!