Tag Archives: Memoir

9/11/13

I look back on this day some twelve years ago, I’ve sought the right words all day in the back of my mind, trying to figure out how best to capture the feeling, the emotion, the raw and hard to digest reality of what happened. So many lives, like a whisper cut off in a dark room, no more speaking and no more filling the void. May whatever good thing there is beyond us in the Universe shine upon those silent voices, those that died that day, and died in service in the days after.
I remember that day, as we each do, so very vividly. I was in my Sophomore year, a religious kid then, watching the world come unglued. I remember the TV on in the classroom and all manner of hell raining down. I remember watching the news people trying to make sense of it all as a second plain hit on live TV and in seeing that I knew the dark and ugly reality that in this world, anything can happen. The carpet can be pulled out beneath our feet at any moment in any given day. We were not invincible, the we being not us as a country because our country continues onward, tested and tried but not broken, not so long as we the individuals that make it up continue to fight the good fight and mix our voices together to be heard, so long as we continue to dream and believe in Democracy and in what is good not only within ourselves but our fellow person. No, the we there is purely us as individuals, we each, individually are not immortal–a sobering thing to a guy at that time a teenager with the world before him. Youthfulness has the lie of immortality burned into his being, but that day was a rude awakening for us all.
I remember the first time I went to NYC, the first time I saw the gaping wound of what had happened. I was underground looking up, wondering at why Daylight was shining down on a subway car and then I realized I was underneath where it had happened. Realization upon realization but nothing can prepare a person for a thing like that. It was eerie there, silent, a hallowed ground of spilled blood and punctured innocence, of trial and tribulation. Evil had touched this spot and good people going about their lives had died here. There were ghosts here, but not all of them of the literal kind. These were the ghosts of what had been before the towers had come down, of what would be after, of dark days and hope being challenged. But in the end our flag pulled us together, we reached out and in one of our darker days we rallied together behind each other, we were America, We are America, and we knew then that not a damned thing in this world would snuff us out if there were still one of us left to fight, to stand, to push back the darkness and to shout down the threat, we would not go silently into the dark night as Thomas Dylan once said. No, we would not surrender so easily. We are a nation of people born in boldness, and courage, and audacious dreams, challenging enemies both foreign and domestic, and challenging in the end, even our own selves. We are a noble people, not because we are simply born to it, but because we have dreamed the heights and pursued it with a tenaciousness never before known in history and we would and will I hope chase down that dream and grand experiment so long as there is a flag to ally ourselves to…our daring symbol, a bold reminder of where we have come from and where we can go. Thirteen colonies and a ragtag team of people against an empire.
This day, I think all these many thoughts. I remember. I mourn. I feel the inspiration of their brave American Spirit, those men, those women, those brave heroes that dared so boldly that day and fought all the many challenges they faced. And all the Heroes that came after, that took up their banner and fought in the years that came of this ugly thing. My gratitude, my humility, my service, my respect to you all, living and dead. Rest in peace to those that died, rest in respect to those still injured, and for those continuing the fight, I stand beside you.
May whatever good thing there is in the Universe shine upon us, may the good moreover inside each and everyone of us guide us forward, and may we find the dream still alive and may that dream that is America, and is Democracy, and is Equality, and is brother and sisterhood and common cause, and revolutionary spirit and boldness and courage, may it never be snuffed out and may it ever be dreamed. For this, and the United States of America, I wholeheartedly pledge my undying allegiance.


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