Hey everybody, how have all of you been? I had to take some time to deal with some family health issues, but I am happy to report that everything is going well, parts are healing, scars are… well doing whatever it is scars do and overall there are no complaints on this end. So, how about you?
In reality I have not been absent that long but in that time you can’t say that the Earth stood still. We are out of Iraq, kind of. Our economy is improving, not so much…maybe a little…wait not today…maybe a little better again, sort of. And most of all these day’s if you aren’t pitching “Muslim” one way or the other, you are out of touch with current (pr)events.
By the time this goes to print we will have seen the ninth anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11 write its own chapter in that horrible day’s legacy. Still two days from today as I write this I have no idea if the news will report that as a nation on that day we honored our country or simply marked the day.
Since I last wrote this column this nation has gathered in early remembrance of 9/11, not quite at Ground Zero but two blocks away. An area that was not targeted on that day yet was still close enough to be damaged by parts of the fuselage and landing gear of United Flight 175, which was flown into the South Tower.
Following in that same theme there was a Mosque that burned in Tennessee under suspicious circumstances, a New York City Cab Driver was attacked and there is a pastor who in forty-eight hours wants to gather his flock for a book burning with the Koran as fuel.
In all these cases there has been one common theme throughout – the Constitution.
When the Mosque came to the front of our national consciousness, those in need turned to the Constitution while others still in great pain turned against the Mosque. And then there is the pastor who saw a way to “Never Forget” by planning to set on fire the Holy Book of a billion people. Once more the pastor’s Constitutional right to free expression was raised. Raised by many was the issue that if someone has the right to build a Mosque in the controversial location, then someone has the right to burn the Koran.
It’s a lot of talk about “rights” but frankly if you ask me we have taken the wrong lesson from 9/11. Those men who flew those planes into those buildings hated our country. Hated what we stood for and hated those beliefs that guide our hands at home and internationally. Today we seem to be continuing their work by making hatred live in the streets of our everyday lives; hate that those men in those planes knew would be exploitable when it rots the heart and soul of our nation.
The lesson we should have taken away from 9/11 is not hate but to find a way to never let hate kill 3,000 citizens on our shores ever again. I fear that we are leaving that more noble and hard-to-stick-to priority that really did separate our nation from others in history. Now I am not saying as a nation we should be passive to an attack; however, we should also not lose the soul of our experiment while we struggle with our emotions versus our greater and harder to follow ideals that see beyond simple emotional reactions to the very heart and soul of the meaning of a nation that one president once called “a shining city on a hill.”
As a nation we have great capacity and strength. Sometimes the soul of that strength is tested by those who may hate us for who we are but who know that they can’t defeat us as we exist. To chink our armor they must move our mountains. If the lesson of 9/11 is to hate as the enemy does then they have fundamentally changed our country and moved our mountains according to their plan and in violation of ours. But that is up to us.
Sometimes it’s not easy being an American.
Lloyd E. Flyer is a freelance writer and may be contacted through The Tolucan Times or at Alternateangle@pacbell.net