8:47 AM, September 11, 2001…
Hack, hack, hack…”Dude, how f%&king lame is freshman seminar going to be?”
“Pretty f%&king lame… bro that was seven, nice f%&king run.”
“So my buddy is president of The Hackysack Club…”
“Wait, THC? Genius!”
8:48 AM, September 11, 2001
“Guys a plane just flew into the World Trade Center…”
For a brief moment in time, time itself ceases to exist. Moments elapse, and only in the afterthought can one truly fathom the enormity of the details of the events of September 11, 2001. A simple day; a gathering of friends; all the wonderful promise of a first semester of college. The most innocent of events irrevocably altered, in the most violent of fashions.
For a brief moment in time, internal focus narrows; transcendent never meant more than it had in these minutes. The largess of cowardice, forever scarring self-professed invincibility, for the benefit of hate. All for the lack of a human connection. Connections severed by minutia, by misunderstanding, by internally forced non-understanding. Intolerance incarnate.
For a brief moment in time, I’ve never felt such hate. In that moment terrorist and victim were one in the same. A shared bond based on a clear goal of malice. My lowest moment was their highest. Our lowest moment was their triumph. Intelligence, logic, reasoning…gone. It’s in these moments where one can find the best and worst in themselves.
From this tragedy, this country became our country. I have never felt more past-tense pride, more present-tense pride, more future-pride in the way the citizens of this country bonded. I have reverence extreme for those first responders; those men and women in our protective services that lost their lives on that day. They embody the pride of a nation. I have reverence extreme for the men and women who went to war based on the events of this day. Yes, they know what they are signing up for. That changes nothing.
Those who choose to send our soldiers to war, and those soldiers who volunteer for duty, deserve our respect. Neither decision is easy, and I won’t judge anyone for making them. No matter your thoughts on the person, no decent human being sends young men and women into war without seriously considering the alternatives. If a non-decent human being has that decision in their hands, then we have failed our job as stewards of our republic.
It should not take the reminder of the tragedy of September 11, 2001 to remind us to take everything as sacred. As we approach the presidential election this applies most currently to politics. The tone of this election is reprehensibly negative. The lack of any compromise is embarrassing. The characterization of ones ideals is a slight against those who fought for our values. We should ask for media members and political leaders to accurately reflect the values of civic duty. The Rush Limbaughs and Rachel Maddows of the world deserve no place in the popular media. They do not reflect American civility. We have that duty to uphold this civility, as it was paramount to those who authored the document that our country was founded on. A lack of this civility, a forced lack of understanding, are actions no different from those we call enemies, just less extreme. Discourse is one thing, an active disrespect is another.
For a brief moment in time, I’ve never felt such love and patriotism. Civic pride unbound, the beauty of what it is to be an American citizen, in the face of all that it is to be not. Forever idealistic, forever the optimist, always respectful. Forever wishing that everyone could find solace on the same grounds. Forever remembering the day that hate begat love. We will never forget.