Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The World stopped turning…..

Today is that day, again.

I knew it was coming, as we all do, and was feeling kind of hopeful that this year, maybe things would be different.

But they aren’t. Even if I don’t watch a TV or don’t go to the internet, I can still see the horrible scenes playing out in my mind’s eye.  As if it happened last week, instead of a dozen years ago. I’m struggling today, as I seem to more every year, and need to write about it. I don’t know if I’ll post this or not.

The Victims

I can’t comprehend, not for a moment, what the innocent had to endure. I can’t understand how their loved ones, suddenly being without, manage to go on. I hope they are able to find solace in the time that’s elapsed.

MB and I were in NYC last year and made the trek down to the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan. It affected me in a way that nothing else ever has.  I didn’t know a single person that perished that day and yet, I felt a connection to them…a very powerful connection. I have no explanation for it, I only acknowledge it. I’m hoping I’ll understand it, someday.

The First Responders

They reacted and ran into hell, as they had been trained to do.  Their task was to save as many as they could. Instead, so many joined the victims in leaving this life. Those that remain bear an incredible burden, wondering what they could have done differently, wondering why they were spared. 

I can only thank all of them, inadequately, for their sacrifices and their giving to all of us. What they do is the best of humankind.

We Will Never Forget

This phrase means different things to people. In the days shortly after the attacks, it became almost a rallying cry, a battle cry, for many.  There was a great deal of posturing, chest puffing about how “we’ll show those crazies not to mess with the USA!” The result of this has been two incredibly expensive, long lasting, drawn out wars, resulting in so many deaths and helping to contribute to the financial difficulties of the entire world, too. (Don’t misunderstand me. I was right there, in favor of getting our pound of flesh, too. But after eleven years of this, I’m kind of tired of it. Actually, I’m really tired of it. I keep thinking everyone is.)

Others thought about how important it was to keep the victims and their families in our thoughts. “They’ll need our help, let’s remember to provide for those who made the sacrifices.”

Still others took another meaning from the phrase. “Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it.” We must remain vigilant to keep it from happening again. 

This has resulted in stories about how our freedoms are being violated on a daily basis by our own government in the name of security. As a result, we seem to be discovering how much we’re willing to tolerate in order to keep the peace.  Like most people, I’m only willing to tolerate so much…unless, of course, we’re attacked again. Then, folks will be asking why more wasn’t done to protect our country and our “freedom.”

What it means to me

Recently, I’ve seen some really horrible things written and/or broadcast about “the Muslims being responsible for all of this.”

This is where I start to lose my mind.

Many of the people saying these things identify themselves as Christians. If you lived in another country, and read about the activities of the Westboro Baptist Church, who also identify as Christian, would you then think that all Christians are that hateful?

Would you want to be identified as a Christian, based on those activities? (I’ll assume the answer is no.) Then why do you assume that all Muslims are responsible for all the acts of terrorism?  All the senseless killing? The Quran doesn’t teach this kind of behavior any more than the Bible teaches hatred to Christians. And yet, here we are launching all kinds of labels on people because of outliers. 

To me, “we will never forget” means that everyone on this planet needs to understand that we’re all in this together. We need to share the beautiful place we live with each other. We need to understand that we are different, not better or worse, but different. That my beliefs are mine and your beliefs are yours and that we don’t have to agree with each others’ beliefs or opinions. And we shouldn’t make fun of them. And we shouldn’t impart our own on someone else.

We should work to understand each others’ and see if there is common ground on which we can agree and build a basis for living together.  If we can’t, there is really no hope for us over the long haul.

Maybe that’s why this gets harder every year, for me.  Because I think there’s no long term hope for us.

I wish I could dare the world to prove me wrong.


  1. Brian,

    Thank you for so eloquently sharing on this day. I agree that we all need to learn to live together and that if people would just treat each other as people this world would be a much better place.


  2. There are also manipulative sons of Machiavelli back in there using these extremists for the socio-economic benefit of...someone. It can't all be wacky nut-cases running amok, I think. I am a conspiracy theorist at heart because it is just too dreadful to believe that goofy doofuses like those Westboros and Al Quaidas count for anything at all. They don't count, they are silly fringe extremists and as we all to often are forced to realize, the good ol' U.S. government is seldom surprised and there is also almost always a certain piscene odor to events leading up to attacks on this our hallowed ground; we remember the Alamo and we remember the Maine and Pearl Harbor too...

    But yeah. Innocents died and that sucks. A LOT more innocents have died as a result in the past dozen years, in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan and now Syria and listen: it is ALWAYS about money.

    Religion is a mask for greed.

    Me, I'm tired. I'm really tired of aggression. These days I just want to be nice. One good thing about getting old is it is easier to be nice. That's why the innocent, the little children, like grandpa's so much. They're nice.

    Tired and nice. OK, Brian.


    1. Thanks TJ! As is usually the case, my friend, your words are so on target. And it is easier to be nice, isn't it?

      Stay well, my friend!