The Day After

Of course I remember where I was 7 years ago yesterday.

Of course I remember what it was like to watch hell unfold before my eyes on national television.

Of course I remember what it was like to hear fear and trepidation in the voices of the NBC anchors and the people they were talking to on the phone.

And of course I remember what that same fear and trepidation felt like in my own mind.

I will never forget.

My 9th grade social studies teacher taught us one time about "photographic moments" of history- those moments where everyone, everywhere rememberd what they were doing, where they were and what they felt.

For our grandparents, Pearl Harbor was that day.  For our parents, the assassination of John F. Kennedy was that day.  For our older siblings, maybe it was Oklahoma City.

But this is our photographic moment, our point in time that will and forever be frozen in our memories and minds and thoughts.  Because September 11 was the day that defined the world as it is and has been every day since.

Interesting- I don't remember 7 years ago today very well.  I don't remember what it was like to wake up on Day One of what has become colloquially known as "the post-9/11 world."

Gone, in me like so many millions of Americans, is the burning patriotism, the driving sense of duty to president and country, that permeated hearts from Cape Cod to cape Canaveral, from Virginia Beach to Long Beach.

Now before you go and start accusing me of being a Communist (forget those two years of indoctrination into Leninism :), I love this country.  I continue to support the American way and American policies, popular opinion of such notwithstanding.

But can I honestly say my feeling of patriotism is as strong as it was on September 12, 2001?  No, I can't.  I've let everyday life get in the way.  I don't mean to say I need to wave the flag and sing "God Bless America" all day every day.

But we all need to remember what it was like to be attacked, what it was like to feel the fear and hatred of people who, if only for one day, had the power to bring our country to its knees.

Because if we don't, we risk falling into the same aloof arrogance what got us into this mess in the first place.  And we need to remember, to understand that, as Elise quoted, "there is good left in the world and it's worth fighting for."

We "ought to [stir ourselves] more diligently for the welfare and freedom of this people." We need to live more "in memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children."

I am grateful for every reminder of 9/11, from the annual day of remembrance to the newer tradition of singing "God Bless America" at every World Series game.

Though I wish it had never happened, I'm grateful for what I learned on that great and terrible day.  Now it is up to me to remember it and live it.


Peeser said…
Another thoughtful, well-written reminder. Thank you.

(on a related, though not quite as serious, yet rather ironic note- that autumn was the series premier of "24"- I can't remember if it premiered before or after- I think after- still, it had been in the works long before the events of 9/11 unfolded...kind of interesting how timely it ended up being, huh?)

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