Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hope Still Flies (Or, a post 9/11 memory)

        Today, no doubt, all Americans across this wonderful country are remembering where they were and what they felt on this day eleven years ago. I know that I am. I recall the early morning oatmeal smell as I came down the stairs to some of the most explicit language I had (and to this day, have ever) heard in my life. I saw my grandmother, with tears in her eyes, trying her best to explain to little me what exactly had happened.

       She didn't have to.

       Everything else from that day, to be honest, blurs. It's been eleven years, and the world around me has changed exponentially since September 11th, 2001. We've seen huge shifts in religion, class, society, science, technology, privacy, the law, war, and the list could go on. Since that day, we've become a little less trusting, a little more scared, and a lot more on edge. The America that existed on September 10th died the next day, to be replaced by something else. 

      This is not a criticism of America post 9/11. This is not the place, nor the time. Any other day, I'm vocal about what I disagree with or do not like about what is going on in this country. Today, today is different. Today-we don't need that.

      In fact, I'd like to ask that if you have any sort of opinion that might hurt someone on this day, please keep it to yourself. Conspiracy theories can be saved for September 12th. Criticism of politics can wait until September 12th. Ultimately, we were caught completely off guard. Not that we weren't ready-the bravery of every emergency department in New York alone prove that-but because it's about near impossible to have known that this was going to happen.

      Something of this scale could not have been anticipated. Regardless of what anyone could have done, did, or didn't do, no one expected to turn on their TVs to see that blatant display of evil. And it was evil. Whatever those men did to justify what they did doesn't matter-any sane person wouldn't need two seconds to know this was, like the image above states, the actions of madmen.

     However, there is one resounding truth to take from September 11th. And that is the fact that the sun rose again on September 12th. We were different-changed and hurt. But we were still there. Like the flag we sing so proudly of in our national anthem; we survived one of darkest moments of our 300+ years as a country-and we were still there! 

     I remember September 12th better than I do the 11th. For the next few weeks after the attacks, we didn't wait for the dust to settle. And for the first time, I saw what America is really about. People stepped up to help other people recover. Volunteers began to dig through the rubble with exhausted and scarred service workers. People looked to their government, not to their political party. We honored the few men who decided to rise to the call and manage to prevent one more plane from hitting anything. Some people prayed, and other people didn't let it bother them. Others didn't pray, but didn't disrupt the prayer, and they weren't forced to. Gender, skin color, beliefs, opinions, these things didn't matter. We were Americans. All of us. And we needed each other more like we needed each other during the 1940's, like during the 1770's. We earned our heritage in those few moments. We were truly the realized dream of our founding fathers. 

    Because we are imperfect people, this could not last. It's tragic, but it is the truth. Eventually, things shifted again, and we are where we are now, eleven years later. And we are still here. On this day, as I remember all the loss, all the pain, all the scars, I remember that, even for a brief moment-we stood taller than any of us could have ever imaged. We stood together, one nation, under God, indivisible. That is the strongest memory I have of this most terrible event. We lost a lot, but we didn't lose it all. We were changed forever, but didn't forget who we were. And every year, on this day, we go back to the way we were in those days and weeks after disaster. It's only one day, but I still cannot be more proud to pledge allegiance to the United States of America.

     Stand tall, America.

     Psalm 3:1-3 "O Lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me. So many are saying 'God will never rescue him!' But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high."

*The images included in this post are from Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #38 by J. Michael Straczynski with art by John Romita Jr. You can download this issue for free through the Marvel Comics application on iOS or Android or through Marvel Comics Unlimited online. This is not an endorsement of Marvel, but I did use their images, and I think people should read the whole thing.*

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