September 11, 2009

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday was a very special anniversary. The date was September tenth. This day may not seem as though it stands out in history but, oh, it does. It commemorates the September tenth of eight years ago, a day of peace and calm and nonviolence. A day that was the end of an era.

Because after September 10, 2001 came September 11, 2001. After that peaceful day of normality came a day of war, and hatred, and death...

I was ten years old when the terrorist attacks of 9-11 came crashing into my homeland and my sense of security. I was in fifth grade. I didn't know much. My teachers enlightened me of very little concerning the attacks. One teacher feared he'd lost his daughter in one of the WTC towers, but he stayed in school to reassure the children, not that there was much reassurance going on. It was a horrible day of strained smiles and "Oh, it'll be okay"s that I won't ever forget. And then- when school got out for the day and the truth of the matter was revealed... Then came the shock, the sadness, the terror.

Two thousand, nine hundred and seventy-four innocent people died that day. Twenty-four remain missing. The two World Trade Center Twin Towers were decimated, part of the Pentagon ruined, a field in Shanksville, PA scorched (what if that fourth plane had landed in Washington, D.C., as it was supposedly meant to?). And who did this? Nineteen men, in physical truth; more broadly, fanatacism and the increasingly violent anti-American fringe counterculture.

But I knew none of this. I was only ten. And just one day before, all of this had not yet intruded onto my beautifully innocent world. I was nothing but a nice little schoolchild. I had few ideas of death or destruction. Yes, September tenth was a great day...

Now that I am a few years older and much, much more cynical, I look back and realize that September tenth was really not that much less significant than its infamous successor. It was another "day to live in infamy" (and so help us all, how many will there be?). September eleventh is famous as the day so many people died. September tenth is not famous as the day so many people lived. One of these days stands for an end, one a beginning; one relative peace, the other war.

So today I call your attention to this: Think of those who died, and of their families, and may their souls be well. ...And think of those who lived, and could have lived, and will live for all their lives with the memory of September eleventh (and the loss of days such as September tenth!) forever engraved in their minds.

And now the clock has turned and it is September eleventh, the ninth September eleventh to become a day of sorrowful remembrance. To honor the 2974, I ask you not to spend this day in hatred (for there's more than enough of that in the world) but instead to remember the victims and contemplate ways in which we the living can make the world a better place. In their memory, let us not only cry-- let us work to create a better future in which there are fewer days to live in infamy and many more days as September tenth once was, days of innocence and safety and happiness.

To honor the 2974, let us find our way to peace...

No comments:

Post a Comment