Saturday, August 27, 2011

Remember what matters…

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 draws near, I can’t help but think about the changes that have occurred in our little blue world. Fears, perceptions, life decisions, and attitudes have been formed and remolded dramatically. It was a day, the day, of our generation. Every generation seems to have one or two of them; Pearl Harbor, Kennedy’s assassination, landing on the moon, the Challenger explosion, and ours…9/11/01. We don’t really even have a name for that day, just a set of numbers to remind us of the worst attack on American soil to ever happen. Nearly 3000 people died that day. Young, old, male, female, white, black, Hispanic…all of them died far too early. Some immediately, some after the fact, and some much later due to illnesses from working the “pile”.

Every year around this time you will hear the saying, “remember 9/11”. The question is what does that mean? What do they want us to remember? The networks will have specials and pictorials; interviews with people that were there and experts on terrorism. They want us to remember the moment and event. I want us to remember the days that followed. Volunteers…so many volunteers in fact that many were turned back. Blood banks that were working 24/7 at a capacity that hadn’t been seen in decades. Truck loads of supplies delivered from all corners of the nation. American flags flown from every available pole, on every car, and window. People standing on the street handing out sandwiches and water to workers. Retirees watching small children so their parents could go out and do whatever they could to help. And most of all: Unity. We were once again a Nation, indivisible. No more partisanship-we were a whole. A whole that had not existed since WWII.

What about today? Ten years later. Are we a whole? Sadly, no. America now is as divided as I have ever seen it in my short lifetime. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that fact. The fact that it took 3000 deaths and the effect on thousands and thousands of lives later to achieve unity and ten years, a literal blink of an eye, to completely unravel it. It’s your fault; you’re a Republican. No, it’s your fault; you’re a Democrat. It’s America’s fault; we are bad people and deserve this treatment by the “faithful”. It’s difficult to really lay a finger on one thing that has fractured this great nation of ours; but I do know one thing: WE ARE BROKEN. Not in spirit or as individuals, but as a United America.

So you ask, “What do I take from this?” This is what I ask of you, all of you. Remember Americans helping Americans. Remember children gathering their pennies to donate to the cause. Remember the rush of young men and women to serve their country in whatever fashion they could. Remember a bunch of guys walking up flights of stairs to do a job. Remember stores being sold out of American flags. Remember standing proudly every time you heard the “Star Spangled Banner”. Remember the pictures of guys in black digging through tons of rubble until every brother was brought home. And remember, please remember, what it was that made you feel like an American again and hold on to it dearly. Why? Because that is what is going to hold us together now, not politicians, not money, not finger pointing. Let us all strive to be a country, the greatest country, The United States of America.