I’ve been having a brain block this week when it comes to finding something to write about, especially today. I feel like this date, September 11, has been etched and re-etched in my (and every other American’s) mind so solidly over the past eleven years that there isn’t much more to say. And yet, out of the respect I have for this day, I really don’t want to start writing about anything else. So I will keep it short:
In the big picture of human history, the events that happened eleven years ago are relatively small. There have been bigger tragedies with bigger significance. But I think that everyone in there life has a moment when they realize that they, their family, and their country is not untouchable. September 11, 2001 was mine. So, in my head, it is still a pretty big deal. And I think it always will be.
Growing up in the United States of America, I can say that my childhood was comparatively lucky. I was not at risk of being blown up heading to school. I never was in danger of starving, or being pressed into military service, or living in constant fear of governments, rival warlords, or invaders. I can’t say what my feelings toward the rest of the planet would be without that day, but I can say they would have been different. I know that America is not the best country in the world and to even ask which one is is a stupid question. We’re not invincible, we’re not automatically kind, or honest, or environmentally friendly, or even great neighbors. But America is my home and I plan during my lifetime to take ownership of being American and, through that, make our country a better place. And, because I am happy and dedicated to living here, I am going to get justifiably mad at anyone who tries to destroy it.
I’ve mainly been ignoring all the posts and articles today– some ‘where were you when–‘ re-hashes, some memorials, some looks at the political aftermath, some reminders that most Muslims are not bomb-toting Jihadists. They are the same ones that were posted last year and they will be the same ones posted again next year, each year in slightly smaller font and farther down in the MSN slide show buried under Kim Kardashian’s latest exploits and the newest round of political mud-slinging.
I know that the generation older than me probably don’t see today as that big a deal in the scope of things and the generation younger than me doesn’t have any emotional impact to go with the facts they’ve been taught. But I think today is important, especially for my generation. America has been on a rocky path the last few years and I doubt its going to get better any time soon. We need to realize that being a part of a democracy, like any other relationship, takes work. So many people want to sit back, relax, and enjoy the prosperity but the world doesn’t operate like that. If there is one thing that today has taught me every day for the last eleven years, its that in America we are not immune to attack and it is our job to work as hard as we can to hold our country together and move in a positive direction despite anything that happens. I’m scared that we won’t be able to, that we will get so stuck picking at each other that someone will be able to easily tear us apart, but I’m hoping that we can.