A 9/11 post by J

09/12/08 1:51PM
Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to be free…
It’s been 7 years since the attacks of 911, to the minute. As I write this there is a replay of that fateful day running on the network news. As if any of us would forget the feelings we felt that day. As if we needed a real life reminder.

My life has changed in these last 7 years as much as a life can change in that period of time. My changes are my changes. Were they spurred by the events of 911? Perhaps.

After 911 I felt vulnerable at first, a little flag waving as well, but all of that settled into my desire to live the life I wanted to live, not the life that I thought was expected of me. I wanted to get right with my path.

I didn’t find religion, I didn’t find nationalism (as a retired Airman I think I found that when I was a teen), instead I found life.

I thought of what it meant to be an American. I thought of how we were different than the people that attacked us, our way of life, our sense of security. I thought that they were little people. Small in their understanding of the world, small in their understanding of right and wrong, small in their sense of self. They were extremists, fundamentalists; they had a closed view of the world, were not accepting of anything different, not accepting of the rights of others, anti everything the USA stood for.

Today, 9/11/2008 we are in the middle of one of the most divisive elections of our history. One side wants to instill hope not fear, the other wants to guarantee protection from religious fundamentalists. Both are now running on a “Change” platform, whatever that means anymore.

Clearly, we Americans are ready for change. Not just in the war policy, not just in the price of gas, but in the message we carry as Americans throughout the world. We can not protect everything that is important to us. We can not guard every bridge, every monument, every large building in every town and city. I’m sorry John McCain, we can not “defeat evil”, we can not win a “war on terror”, but we can find ourselves, again, and protect what it means to be an American.

Last week, as the RNC lit up with screams of “Drill Baby Drill”, and Oil Sheiks cheered, I thought, what would America, pre-911 do today? In 2000 McCain called the religious right “agents of intolerance.” Today he has put a Religious Fundamentalist on the ticket with him. Is that what Americans would do?


We would turn a deaf ear to the intolerance; we would accept everyone at our table, and work together to make the world a better place. We would not hunker down behind a false sense of security. We would work to open the world’s eyes to the wonders that come from real freedom. Freedom of thought, celebrating the differences we all have, proud of the fact that we are the melting pot of the world, where all are welcome.

As the Statue of Liberty looked on at the violent acts of 911, I wonder if she would even remember the country we were a mere 7 years ago. I wonder if she would still stand, telling the world, “Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to be free…”

I wonder, how can you measure victory in this war against extremism. Perhaps it can only be measured by how much it changes you, not how much you can change the world. We can not huddle behind false security, we can only save what makes us Americans.



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