Last week I did something that I wish I hadn't had the opportunity to do to begin with. I watched the video of the brutal, evil-filled murder-by-burning-alive of Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh. (No specific details will be shared here)
It was without a doubt the most horrific thing I have ever seen.
Still, the decision to watch it was the right one . . . for me. Let me explain.
Almost every day I read about another horrible event or situation. A 6-month baby dies after being sexually assaulted by her biological father. Human beings of all ages are sold into slavery -- for labor, sex, or whatever their evil captors and owners have in mind. An elderly man is horribly abused by a caretaker in the nursing home in which he resides. And the list goes on and on.
This isn't new, of course. Atrocities such as these have been part of human life for thousands of years.
And, for the most part, those historical atrocities are forgotten as new atrocities occur.
I was reminded of this truth just a few weeks ago, when I mentioned to a coworker that I had been on the outskirts of Oklahoma City and regretted that I hadn't had time to go into the city itself and visit and pay my respects "at the memorial". My colleague appeared perplexed and responded "what memorial?". I explained that I was referring to the memorial to those lost in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in April 1995.
Yes, it's been 20 years, but 20 years ago I wouldn't have believed it if you told me the day would come when the words "Oklahoma City" and "memorial" wouldn't immediately bring that event to mind.
I know how my mind works, and I know that visuals stay with me much longer than mere words. I can close my eyes now and see images of Holocaust victims and survivors. I can see an airplane fly into the first World Trade Center tower and then another fly into the 2nd. I know that I will remember those images until my memory fails me entirely.
And I wanted to never forget the atrocities of these evil individuals who have beheaded numerous captives and now burned alive another. I want to always remember Lt.Muath al-Kaseasbeh and his dignity in the face of his unfathomably-horrific fate. By extension, I want to always remember his family and keep them in my prayers.
And I want to do my part to make sure my elected officials never forget this, either, and that they do whatever they can to help find these evil individuals, hold them accountable, and rid our world of their horrible, hate-possessed organization and others like it.
So yes, I can now close my eyes and see Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh. And every time I do, I am moved.
May I never forget.