For a Brief Moment in Time

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.

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2 responses to “For a Brief Moment in Time

  1. Yesterday I was going to comment on this about how striking it was that it took great tragedy to reveal the capability for good inside us. And make a comment on the hate it inspired on both ‘sides’. You had Americans angry and lashing out, some trying to stay level headed and realizing it was a case of bad apples. At the same time across the middle east, crowds took to the streets to celebrate and burn flags. But I decided meh, it’s already all been said.

    But then I find out today that I knew one of the guys killed in the Benghazi attacks.

    And boy is it hard for me not see Islam and organized religion in general as the biggest cancer killing humanity and progress in the world right now. I can write off a bunch of radicals hijacking some planes and flying them into a building as a fringe case. But when a mob of everyday ‘people’ storm an Embassy and murder over a clip on youtube, over comments about some meaningless prophet that lived hundreds of years ago…I don’t know. You see the thousands in Egypt protesting and storming the embassy…

    The rational part of me says that if these people hate the west so much, we should let them be. Removing dictators and giving them a shot at freedom? No thanks. They clearly are not ready for such responsibility if the centers of the lauded Arab Spring can then turn around and do this.

    And the irrational part of me? The part that may have never met him in person, but flew internet spaceships with Sean “Vile Rate” Smith? A husband, father, and all around chill dude? That part of me wouldn’t be bothered today if Libya was turned into a parking lot.

    • Well, I can certainly understand your emotions. What I was considering all along, at the onset of the embassy attacks, was that it seems far to concentrated to be about that reason, and during this time frame. It seems my suspicions were founded as the protests were just fronts for a planned assault.

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