I’ve been thinking about September 11th. What have we learned in fourteen years? To “never forget”? What does that even mean? To feel sad? We already feel sad—very sad. To feel angry? We feel angry, and we’ve poured out our anger on people who superficially resemble the monsters that perpetrated the act. As a result, more monsters have cropped up, and on it goes. Has it helped?
So now what? Get more revenge? What now?
In the days and weeks after the attacks, we came together as a country and as a world. I don’t remember any time, before or since, that we have been so unified. And it wasn’t anger that did it—it was sorrow, and it was love for one another—for the people who died and the people who survived. We wanted to do something to help; remember? We wanted to support one another. Do you remember that? I remember making little yellow ribbon pins to pass out at school; it was all I could think of, but at least I was doing something.
Now, fourteen years later, our country is fractured. We squabble over politics, hurl insults, shoot at our own people. We’ve created a generation of people who shoot randomly into crowds for attention! Now we’re fearful of anyone who looks different from ourselves. Have we grown more fearful, angry, and violent as a result of 9/11?
Isn’t this what the terrorists intended? If so, THE TERRORISTS SUCCEEDED.
Never forget? It’s hard to forget the images seared into our brains on that day. I’d like to forget that. Instead, we should never forget the way our country came together for a little while. Maybe it’s time to move on. It’s easy to be angry. It’s harder to love one another and help heal the wounds. It’s harder to mend fences with our neighbors—people who disagree with us about details, but still have the same hopes and desires we do—and admit that inside, we’re all the same.
The yellow ribbon above is one I kept from those days. It doesn’t mean “attack all perceived enemies.” It means “bring our soldiers home safely.” Let’s NEVER FORGET that we need to support one another in times of need. After fourteen years, maybe it’s time to “come home safely” from this endless cycle of pain, fear, and anger.
When we do, we will finally WIN the war on terror.