Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What we did forget...

I'm not the type of blogger {or person} to post timely pieces about current events or holidays or even days of remembrance. My dad died on October 23, 3009...a date I will never forget but also a date I have not been compelled to mark in my blog with yearly posts marking the 'anniversary' of his death. But today, September 11th, I have the urge to say something...I feel it in my bones.

Eleven years ago, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, thousands of lives were lost, husbands, wives, children, mom, dads, sisters and brothers...white people and black and everything in between. Some were Christians and some were atheists...and some, like me, were confused in their beliefs. I'm sure of the thousands who perished there were some who were suffering from depression or trying to figure out how to leave their spouse or maybe even how to ask that pretty girl they see every morning in the coffee shop out for a date. And then there were the heroes...the police officers, firefighters, paramedics and the regular, everyday people who risked or lost their lives to help someone else live.

An unfathomable amount of loss and grief, impossible to express in words, was felt by people in my country, the United States, as well as across the world. To this day, like many of you, I find myself in tears whenever I think about that day 11 years ago.

But my tears aren't just about the horrendous acts and loss of lives or even about the incredible sacrifices made by the men and women who gave everything, even the precious time they could have spent with their own families, for people they had never met...and never even knew their names. I cannot imagine...I cannot comprehend the amount of hate and love that was expressed that day, practically at the same time.

My tears are also for what has become of these past eleven years. I live in a nation divided. Maybe it's always been that way and I am just now old enough and involved enough to understand it. It's hard to say that...to declare that I live in a nation where my fellow Americans vocalize not only their hatred toward other nations {not that this is acceptable} but also for each other.

I remember that first week after the Towers came down...the kindness and compassion that was expressed every where I went. People were nicer, held the door open, let you go first, wished you a good day, friends hugged hello and good bye and we tolerated each others differences because we saw, first hand, what happens when hate and fear and intolerance takes over. And today...as I scan past all of the Facebook posts stating Never Forget I can't help wanting to scream "But we already have...we already did...".

Maybe we haven't forgotten that the Towers fell or that Bin Laden was the source of evil {which somehow translated into hating all Muslims and anyone else who might wear a turban} but we've forgotten the bigger, more important, lesson that we could have learned if only we didn't always feel the need to be right all of the time.

Someone out there hates gays and someone else hates the Jews and blacks. Another person thinks the atheists need to vacate this country while another is planning to burn down yet another mosque. There's a person posting a defamatory picture on Facebook of someone they have never met or spoken to...and another is posting a quote from the Bible explaining how it is someone else is going to burn in Hell because they hold different beliefs. The Republicans hate the Democrats so much that our country can't move forward. And the Democrats hate the Republicans so much that they get their feelings hurt and claim that they are all bullies who hate the poor.

We haven't forgotten the brick and mortar that fell that day. We haven't forgotten where we were and how helpless most of us felt. But we have forgotten, especially in light of our nation's upcoming elections, that we are one family, that we all want the same things...to be happy, to have enough money to pay the bills or send the kids to college, to have fresh air to breath and beautiful parks to play in, to be safe, to be healthy, to be able to get help when we need it (whether that means a cop, a fireman or a doctor, we want to know someone cares enough to save us and that we are worthy enough simply by human beings to be saved)...we want to be loved, to be respected, to be treated kindly...

We aren't so different. But even with our few differences we will all end up in the same place...our eyes will close, our breath will stop, our skin cool and our body will be consumed by the earth. Our loved ones will cry and miss us, whether we were poor or rich, straight or gay, Muslim or Mormon, democrat or republican. Our legacy will be dictated by our past actions...words and deeds that touched another human being...that helped another in some way by lifting them up or that destroyed some one's spirit or bred intolerance and hate all for the sake of being right.

We cannot go unchanged in this world but we can become more present in how we are being changed. We can recognize the hardening of our hearts and the corruption of our souls when we treat others in a way we would never tolerate being treated by someone else. It's more than being patriotic and lowering our flags every September 11th...it's being human every.single.day.

Maybe, on this anniversary of 9/11 you flew your flag at half-mast and hugged your kids a little harder. Maybe you waved that lady at the 4-way stop to go ahead...or maybe you remembered, with tears in your eyes, all of the fallen heroes and innocent civilians who died because of someone else's hate. But will you remember it tomorrow on 9/12 or 3 months from now? Or will it be back to 'normal'...the back stabbing in the office, the gossip, the fear-mongering, the trash talking and hate spewing...


1 comment:

  1. I love it when you feel it in your Bones!! :). Beautifully said darlin, and unfortunately oh so true!

    I love you!


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