Grateful

I was going to complain about my week. It’s been a pretty bad one. But today is 9/11 and no matter how bad my week has been, there are worse things that could happen.
Like being caught in a building that’s been hit by a plane.
Like being a fireman and KNOWING a building is going to collapse but doing the job anyway.
Like being on an airplane and realizing you’re the only one standing between terrorists and innocent people.
Like being a wife on the phone with a man who plans to take back a plane from terrorists and seeing that plane smash into the ground.
There are worse things.
It’s been eight years. Will we forget?
I remember last year, on December 7, I wondered about our ability to ignore a “day that will live in infamy”. We went to war and won a war because of that day. Yet, how many of us forget the significance of December 7th unless the news reminds us?
Perhaps the generation of my children, who were babies when the Twin Towers were pummeled and the Pentagon rammed, will someday go through their day and forget that 9/11 was a moment in our history that marked us all.
I can’t forget. Part of me wants to. Part of me wants to ignore the date and pretend it’s a distant memory–that it doesn’t matter anymore. But it does matter.
It’s important to honor the sentiment, the passion, the unity that came after 9/11. Regardless of opinion, politics and rhetoric, we are all one people. Overwhelmingly (and with few exceptions) we showed we are Americans first and foremost. We staggered to our feet and thumbed our nose at those who would try and harm us. We helped each other, saved each other, grieved with each other. For a brief, shining moment, we showed all that was good about our country, our people. We revealed we aren’t weak when it counted, that we will stand firm and hold fast to the principles we believe in. Even those who disagreed with the following actions stood tall in the face of the angry mob. You see, in our country, courage isn’t about who has the biggest gun or even the biggest mouth. Courage is speaking our hearts even when it’s difficult, even when everyone else seems to hate what we say.
It’s those principles that no terrorist can take away. Think about it. Our country has been swept away by anger, grief and indignation. Yet, even as we prepared for military action, some questioned it. Not many. But some did. I respect them. I may disagree with them, but I respect them. I commend those who stand up and speak from their heart, even when their heart is filled with doubt. I admire those who use their minds rather than “go along”.
There will always be those in our country that provide the checks and balances we need. We call them “extremists” and “alarmists”. We point fingers and say “fear mongering”. We shake our heads and call them “unAmerican”. And it doesn’t matter which side of an issue we’re on. But it’s those people, those loud voices that keep us from being swept away either by Liberal ideology or Conservative ideology. It’s those “extremists” that keep us a “centrist” country.
I’m grateful to them.
America took a hit on this date eight years ago. Since then, we’ve taken several more. But we’re scrappy. There is so much good in this country. It’s something I forget in the midst of my busy, sometimes difficult, life.
Today is a good day to remember.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Grateful

  1. Shawna

    Damn girl, you made me tear up.

    Bravo!!!

  2. Very good post.
    I never will forget that day. Someone noticed that the AP Wire computer was loading stories like crazy, so we knew that something big (or bad) had happened. I opened the first story and said, “Turn on the T.V. in the conference room.” The whole staff gathered in there and just watched in shock and silence.
    But we had a reason even closer to home to be concerned. Our publisher had been on a mission trip overseas with his church and was supposed to be returning the next day. It was two more days before flights were cleared for him to come home. He said, (I’ll never forget this) “You don’t realize how much you love your country until you’re stuck in a foreign country and told that you can’t go home today.”

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