11 Sept 01. It’s been 12 years, an eternity, an instant. The events still don’t seem real, and in very much a fashion, they aren’t. In an instant my generation had a moment akin to 22 Nov 63. There are people who can tell you where they were, what they were doing, who they were with, etc. How will my children understand this? Will my children understand the impact? My oldest daughter was barely a month old and not even aware of the world outside her tiny view. My other children have never set foot in a world where there existed “the Twin Towers” outside of history books.
Terrorists, in a very real sense, sought to dismantle an American way of life and in doing so slaughtered thousands of people. In the years since, the best men and women this country could muster up went to war and some came home, some did not. All over this globe there are small patches of earth that are distinctly American because a soldier with the stars and stripes on their shoulder fell there. This is not a new concept, or a new thought process. War has been war since the dawn of time.
What is different, now, is that it is people I know, people I have loved, people whose faces are now imprinted on my mind, hiding in the dark recesses of my mind, whose ghosts come to see me at night. These are the people who are paying the price for war.
What I would say, though, to the terrorists that purport to their ability to destroy America is this: You can’t. You won’t. Because in all of the pain, intolerance, resistance that you have caused the American people; all the new laws, rules and hassles that abound, you will never be able to see inside the heart of the American spirit.
What you terrorists don’t see is that the blood of my fellow citizens flows freely and while our society has been torn up and rent inside and out, we will make it bigger, better, stronger. We are resistant to change, but physics tell me that most things are. But we can adapt, we can grow. Where you see only hate, we see opportunity. Where you see hatred, we see an opportunity for love. Where you see an enemy I see a person to not judge.
What the terrorists of 11 Sept 01 did was bring a country together, even if only for a brief amount of time, and remind them what great things they can be capable of. As the WBC did so recently in my city, the terrorists unified its members for the forces of good. So while you terrorists seek to destroy and maim what we know is good, we will always rebuild and go on. My children will grow in a world that knows about you but they will also know about the love and the greatness that this nation has to offer.
To the terrorists: you failed. You tried to break the American spirit and you couldn’t. Each time you bloodied us, we got up. Each time you jabbed at us, we punched back. Each time you insulted us, we smiled and said, “Thank you, sir. May I have another?” You taught me not to hate, but rather to take all life for the precious gift it is. You have shown me that there is still good left in my society, because when you came to our door, my brothers and sisters of this nation answered.
God / Allah / Heavenly Father, whatever name you attach to a supreme being, or don’t, is a being of love and benevolence, and it saddens me that you will never be able to realize that gift. These last 12 years have taught me to never forget that lesson.
To the thousands who have perished in this nation’s quest for peace, your names will ring loud in Heaven and on this day, remember those who were lost. Share the stories so that our children never forget and that they always remember the gift we do have.
© 2013 p.hill