My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, September 11, 2011

One nation under God, indivisible...

While watching the news at lunch yesterday Austin said to me, "It was ten years ago... why don't people just get over it?"

And I tried to explain to him... but words failed me... He was seven years old. He couldn't remember the innocence that was stolen from us as a nation that day... he can't remember a time when you could walk all the way to the gate at the airport to wish someone goodbye or greet them when they get off the plane. He can't remember the fear that gripped our hearts as we watched that day wondering who was next. He has really only known a post 9-11 world.

I worked near the Atlanta Airport at that time doing Customs Clearances and Freight Forwarding. We knew the attacks were being made with airplanes. We had no idea how many more planes would be hijacked or where they would hit. Atlanta is a major city... (Just ask General Sherman)... and the Atlanta airport is a major airport. we didn't know what could be coming next. We heard about the first plane hitting and turned on the tv in the office to watch the news just out of curiosity. Like so many other people we saw the second plane hit. My boss turned to me and said, "Go get your babies". And I did. I checked them out of school and took them home and we stayed in our safe little nest for the rest of the day.

The image that sticks with me the most from that day is the image of people covered in dust running from the collapsed building. They were all the same color. You couldn't tell black from white... rich from poor... they were all Americans. 

I think about the courage of the first responders who went into the burning buildings while others were running away... the courage of the people on Flight 93 who brought down their own plane rather than allow it to be used as a weapon against their fellow Americans... the people who went in to excavate the Ground Zero sight, to look for remains....the people who joined the military since then, knowing that we are at war. There may never again be a time that we are not at war. Courage, in my opinion is what defines us as Americans. 

We can't allow ourselves to get over it. We have to make sure that his generation ... and the next... remember the time when our lives were forever changed. His future changed that day, though he may not completely understand yet all the ways it changed. Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

We also can't forget the spirit that rose up in us in those days, ten years ago... the resurgence of patriotism, the pride to be an American... the revival that rose up in us spiritually, when all seems out of control in our lives, when the tallest, strongest buildings can be destroyed, when we realize our fragile mortality - then we return to our God. 

We can't forget how united we were then... how we shared a common grief that affected everyone, in all walks of life, from red states and blue we realized that together we are strong. One nation, under God, indivisible... 

Watching the memorial service this morning... as President Obama read the beautiful passage from Psalms 46 that reminds us that God is our refuge and strength, an ever present hope in trouble...and I thought about how faith was notably excluded from the memorial service. We can't forget what happened to our country, we can't forget that there is an ever present evil in this world. Only God can save us. 

I hope we never get over it.