We say we will never forget; and I am certain with this, thousands of us won’t. To date it continues to mark a singular act, a moment in time that forever has changed the landscape of actions – those we are conscious of and the ones we execute unconsciously… until someone points them out – like the immediate heightened awareness we experience at any dip or unexplained jerk of an airplane, like the way a passing motorcade of fire-trucks and police cars, all with sirens blaring can halt conversations (and not because of the noise), interrupt the addiction that keeps our noses pointed toward our supposedly-smart phones, make our stomachs clench and our hearts skip a beat then race, until we find assurance that they haven’t struck again.
So I join you all in the involuntary action of playing out the moments, my moments of that fateful day – how it started for me, the in-between and Lord knows! the end. I continue to sit in absolute awe at the absolute portrayal of hate. To this day I marvel at the emotions that allow for the decisions, dedication and preparations made for years and the subsequent execution of same. I shudder to think of the depth of hate that must reside… no, that amount of hate cannot just “reside” it must own… I shudder to think of the depth of hate that owns an individual enough to demand he unleashes it upon unsuspecting, innocent, unknown, undeserving… strangers. The hate that dictates he sacrifices his own life to achieve their murders.
It is obviously an understatement of immeasurable proportions to state, “the actions perpetrated on this nation on September 11th, 2001 have left their indelible foot and fingerprints on not just the lives of those of us who live, work and love in this country, but it has spread its tentacles and vibrates around the world…” but, I say it anyway. The reason I do is a simple one – residual side-effects notwithstanding, many of us, on a day-to-day basis (that only stops when this day approaches) continue to live our lives as though what happened on that day was nothing more than a little inconvenient bon-fire. And, we grumble at the inconveniences that have resulted – the more stringent security checks – at the airports, the bridges and tunnels, the very visible presence of armed national forces, to name a few. Until today, that is. Today, we are all awash in solemnity and appropriate words.
Listen, these acts of terrorism – home-grown or imported – should never happen; they fly in the face of everything human and humane. But they do. And when they do what we should do after we bury our dead and attempt to pick up the pieces of our lives to move forward, is allow them to shape us; give them the room to change our behaviors… for the better. To heighten our appreciation of and respect for life. Allow the heartache from the destruction to keep its index finger firmly pressed against the artery in us that pumps out tolerance, acceptance, respect, solidarity, goodwill and patience. Let it stay there so it can feel the vibration of it as this flows through us.
You know, after the planes struck and the (figurative) dust settled, as the terror and numbness started to dissipate, a new emotion lived in so many of us – hate. We called for and sought vengeance against those who dared to step on our soil and mean us ill in such a catastrophic way. We vowed to dispense our brand of retribution! How dare they?! So, we went after them; we caught some and still plan on finding and exacting revenge on any more who dare. We let them know that hate will not be tolerated and that no one treats us this way and gets away with it!