Friday, September 11, 2009
In honor of the eighth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as well as the attack thwarted by the passengers of Flight 93, I post here something I wrote on the occasion of the second anniversary 9/11.
September 11, 2003.
We're now two years removed from the most heinous attack ever to occur on American soil. In many ways it is hard to believe that two years have passed since we watched the repeated footage of the collapse of the two towers of the World Trade Center, since we witnessed with horror the crater in Pennsylvania and the hole in the Pentagon. The images of that day were burned into our minds and hearts, images which will likely remain fresh and raw in our memories.
However, two years have passed. In many ways we have moved on. Outside of New York City—for who even thinks of the Pentagon or of those who crashed in Pennsylvania anymore?—it's hard to see how the attacks have affected our lives. Oh, we expect the inevitable delays in the airport as we wait through more intensive inspections and searches, and we're more inclined to be respectful of emergency workers than we have been in times past. But the flags have come down. Our cynicism toward the government has returned. The party spirit once again runs rampant.
But while life moves on, people are still in pain. For the husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters, family and friends of the victims of these attacks, the images are only the beginning. There are holes in their lives which will never quite be filled.
I am reminded of the speech which President Bush delivered shortly after the attacks, in which he tells of the badge a woman gave him. The badge had belonged to her son, and she gave it to the President in memory of her son. As he held it up during the speech the President said, "It is the reminder . . . of a task that does not end."
The task continues. There are still people who need our prayers and what comfort we can give them. There are still criminal terrorists who must be brought to justice. And we as citizens of this great nation must remember the cost of freedom—not only the lives of soldiers, but the lives of those who were murdered just for being citizens of this nation.
The party spirit will continue to grow. Our cynicism toward the government will resume. The flags may not come back out. But let us never forget the reason why, for one brief moment in time, we were not liberals or moderates of conservatives, nor pro-Life or pro-Choice, nor black or white. Let us not forget: for one dark and yet shining moment, we came together as Americans.
I'm sad that I was correct in my predictions for how things would come to pass in the years that followed. What has come to pass is the responsibility of every American, and it is the responsibility of every American that we remember those who were murdered by extremists, that we remember and honor our police and fire departments, EMTs, armed forces, and all those who serve us in our darkest hours with their finest hours, and that we pray—pray for peace, pray for the healing of those who were left behind, and pray for the Lord to return in glory to bring us all home.