Thursday, September 11, 2014

What I learned on 9/11...

Paul Tilich wrote that the first duty of love is to listen. Try to be thoughtful to your social media friends and followers, however they may choose to reflect and remember 9/11. Trauma's cut deep and the response, no matter in what form they appear, are vitally important--in that they need to be heard and respected.
As I've read friends FB posts I can't help but wonder what my Dad would say today, and how he would want me to remember.
The memory of that morning is still clear as yesterday, as Dad and I watched the second plane hitting the Twin Towers. The fear, anguish, anger and powerlessness of watching from a TV screen in real time swell up from deep inside me, even now. That morning taught me that in politics there is no left and right in the small details; there is only Tyranny and Freedom.
It also taught me that in the day-to-day affairs of the human spirit; there are those who use fear and hatred and fly planes into buildings, and there are men and women who without second thought run towards burning buildings or at hijackers with boxcutters, to protect and help those in need.
The lives lost that day must never be forgotten; but it is important to also do a quick head count and recognize we have nothing to fear from those trying to destroy civil society and attack what we hold dear. There are way too many good people standing in front of Freedom, defending it from tyranny and hatred, in whatever form it heads our way.
The fabric of our nation and the character of our people is quite strong.
That is what I'd tell me Dad as I look back. I'd tell him that the fabric of our nation, and the character of our people, was stronger than I had ever realized before that day. It was a lesson about the American experience which Dad had always tried to articulate to me; which I'm only now appreciating.
So lets just say I think he's smiling down on me today; with that enthusiastic wag of a finger and grin he'd get when he was excited, saying to me, "now you see what I've been trying to teach you!"
Those simple but profound details of fact about our nation and the character of our people, that one simple lesson is something I feel like many of us learned for the first time that day. Sadly its a truth about our nation and our people that doesn't get a lot of attention in our consumer driven media culture. It is a truth we learned that day in the actions of so many brave men and women, many of whom lost their lives as we watched on our TV screens.
It is a lesson our culture seems to have already forgotten; but it still remains true about our nation and our people nevertheless, I am certain of it. And for that, I am thankful.

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