NOTE: I am doing a separate 9/11 link round-up. There are many great personal stories, tributes, etc. Very worth spending some time reading them.
A person never gets over some things. He learns to live with it.
Around the corners of the body, house, the town, the life, there are memories. The realness of the memories will shock at surprising and unwelcome times. And no matter how profoundly it’s desired, there will be no forgetting.
Hey, America! You over it yet?
New York city is the shining, favored daughter. She is beautiful and busy and idealistic and innocent and open and hopeful. In her, people, people less talented, less lovely, cast their hopes.
America is America the beautiful. She has her faults, to be sure, but one of them isn’t cynicism. Buoyed by a sunny disposition and the opportunity for renewal, America shines.
New York city is the best of all that. New York is the creative spirit. New York is renewal.
New York city is life.
Sound romantic? Absolutely. And it’s that romance and idealism, that essence of America, that Osama bin Laden saw and wanted to destroy.
I was taking my son to his first day of preschool and heard that the first Tower had been hit. What should I do? It seemed evident to me that this was no accident.
Immediately, my thoughts turned to Israel. They get these attacks all the time. They don’t stop. They keep going.
And then a string of New York acquired expletives flashed through my mind. My son would stay at school. %!@!. Them.
My baby daughter was at my mom’s house. As I walked through the door, I saw the second tower hit and I crumpled.
All those people.
I watched the horror unfold like the majority of my mesmerized compatriots. People jumped from the blast furnace of twisted metal rather than be consumed.
I watched, wondering what happened to Flight 93. Wondering if one of our F16 pilots had to pull that trigger. Horrified at the possibility. Knowing there was only one choice and being sick because of it.
I watched the Pentagon burn. Fearing for the President. Fearing for the White House.
As I watched, I pushed back the fear. I hated being afraid and became very angry. Very, very angry.
I wanted vengeance. I still do. I am disappointed that a bullet from my gun didn’t kill Osama bin Laden. It gives me some small satisfaction that one of our Navy Seals, badasses that they are, received this fine honor. I’m sorry Osama bin Laden can’t be killed again. And again.
This reaction isn’t politically correct, mind you. I recognize that.
It’s not politically correct that I want every single one of those people who laughed at our demise to feel the pain and violation we felt on that brilliant September morning ten years ago.
It’s not politically correct that I believe that people who excuse or justify this behavior are as bad as the perpetrators of the assault.
It’s not politically correct that I have contempt for the uncivilized, backward well of ideological despair that gave rise to these actions.
The rationale for terrorism is the rationale of the serial killer. There is a bleakness and blackness of soul so vast that the only thing that animates his nihilistic life is the death of those who love what he doesn’t–life, love, possibility.
The moral equivalence I see in the face of this depravity makes me sick. It is absolutely disgusting that people can justify or equivocate in the face of such evil.
America, her freedom, creativity, her love of life and liberty, her success, her innocence got attacked on 9/11. The smoldering holes at the Twin Towers are a testament to the greatness our enemies wish to destroy.
And there are some who believe she deserved it. She had it coming. She dressed provocatively. She is more beautiful. She swayed when she walked. She has a bigger house. She has been given everything on a silver platter. She’s greedy. She’s pushy. She’s a whore.
These are all the justifications of the killer, the thief, the rapist, the terrorist, the nihilist, the Nazi.
And there is no rationalization that doesn’t make a sympathizer to this corruption the equivalent of the getaway driver at a bank robbery.
And this was destroyed.
The scars from this attack will never go away. America will never be “over it.”
Every TSA feel-up is a reminder. Every bombing in London or Spain or India is a reminder. Every attack at Ft. Hood or on a recruiting center in Arkansas or in Time’s Square or on a flight to Detroit is a reminder.
America, because she is a shining city on a hill, because she reaches so high into the sky, is a target for hate. In a world full of darkness, many want light snuffed out.
So a decade post-9/11, I remember and I am scandalized all over again.
I am not “over it”.
I remember. I remember who did this.
I remember those who died as innocents. I remember those who tried to save the lives of those trapped and lost their own. I remember those on Flight 93 who forfeited their own lives for their fellow Americans. I remember those who died at the Pentagon.
I remember those who planned for a long, hard war against a pitiless enemy. I remember the National Guard pilots faced with a suicidal choice. I remember our military and our police and our firefighters and our first responders and those quiet DHS, NSA, CIA and FBI nerds combing through mountains of data for that needle of information to prevent another attack.
I remember our Marines and our Navy and our Army and our National Guard troops who have been asked to serve again and again–who put themselves in grave danger every day hunting the vermin who rejoice at using a dull knife to decapitate an innocent.
I remember as many details as I can. It is the least I can do.
I will never forget. And neither should you.