Say the words Nine Eleven and most everyone the world over knows the day you are referencing. Say the words Nine Eleven and most folk's faces will cloud. Say the words Nine Eleven and there's still a visceral anger that few words can provoke in Americans.
I remember exactly where I was that morning, and I know many of you do as well. I also remember where my Husband was that morning: in Manhattan, blocks from the Towers, on business. We were lucky; he came home to us.
Today, I try not to dwell on the blow by blow of events because it still has the emotional force to bring me to my knees. What I do dwell on is the loss of life. I dwell on the enemy that still, to this very moment, wants our heads and will not be satisfied until they have it. I dwell on protecting my own, and yours, because in America we are brothers and sisters in this fight. You are mine just as if we were related by blood, which I consider us to be.
As I rooted around facebook this morning, people posted where they were that morning, what they remembered. It's a gut-check. There is not one single American's life that has not been effected by that day. We live in a new world; a world many of us don't recognize nor comprehend, but must face.
A currently-serving Marine officer and one of my baddassier friends, left this status update on his wall (hat tip: Jake):
September 11, 2001: Islamic jihadists around the world will never forget their victory on this day - and neither should we. Si vis pacem, para bellum.
Si vis pacem, para bellum: If you wish for peace, prepare for war.
I couldn't say it any better.
We're a peace-loving people, but we are also a people who will fight to the death to protect one another, to protect our freedom. Many of my brothers and sisters believe that if we make nice, if we capitulate to the extremists, they will see our extended branch of love and accept our differences.
It's a fairytale. Does the playground bully back down once you hand over your demanded lunch money? After taking what is yours, does he decide to live in peace and harmony with you or is he emboldened when you bend to his will?
Smaller scale, same concept. Extremists will never stop. Hell, if they'll kill their own (and they do), what makes us special?
Not a damned thing. It's a lesson many of us refuse to learn, refuse to see because we like to believe in the best of folks.
My anger is as fresh as that horrible day nine years ago. I want justice. God help me, I want revenge.
These people came to our house and killed our children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and friends, leaving the lives of those left behind in shambles. Even though I pray for forgiveness to this day, my tiny sinful human heart, my heart that was broken into so many pieces that day, wants revenge.
I propose that if Bin Laden is ever captured alive, that we sell $1 tickets to those who want to take a swing at him with a baseball bat. Once he's been beaten, we nurse him back to health and start all over again, until everyone who wants a piece of him is satisfied.
Horrifying, isn't it?
Yet, still not as horrifying as people jumping to their deaths because they felt they had no other choice, or losing the lives of first responders in the stairwells, or people trapped in the Towers knowingly making their last phone calls to loved ones, or to the countless fatherless/motherless children, or never having a chance as the planes they were passengers on flew into buildings, or crashing straight into the ground in Pennsylvania, or plowing into the Pentagon, or those whose job it was to sift through the rubble looking for bodies and only coming out with pieces, or any other horrifying moment from that day ~here~.
My Christian faith calls me to forgiveness. I'm a work in progress. What I do know is this: I wish for peace (Dear God in heaven, grant us peace), but I prepare for, and will not back down from, a war of their making.