Well, we are at that time of year again. The anniversary of the attacks on our country. I don't think anyone will forget where they were when they first saw the planes fly into the buildings, whether it was live or later in the day on the news. For my generation, it's sort of our, "where were you when Kennedy was shot?" moment.
For many years I thought about September 11, 2001 daily. And I mean that....every single day. In the past couple of years, it's faded a bit. Not that it's a bad thing. I'm all for remembering the past, if for nothing else, to stay aware that evil and hate can rise up when you least expect it. Our country and our way of life has many enemies and our leaders should always have that on their minds, as should we.
That being said, I think it's time that we stop using the date 9-11 as a political football. The right has ran campaigns on the back of the attacks and the fear of more attacks. The left has used our reactions (through polling) to decide which side of the fence they line up on during election time. You remember. Folks like John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards voting and talking hawkish until the political mood changed. We also had Dick Cheney and Tom Ridge amping up the rhetoric, as well as the terror alerts as elections came to a close. It's sick to use that attack and the death of thousands to keep or gain power.
It's time to let this date, 9-11, slip into oblivion a little bit. I'm not saying forget it, but I am saying we should stop letting the day be treated as a holiday. On September 11th, the talking heads will pound their fists on tables and paint anyone who doesn't support the two fronted war as unpatriotic and liberal. Others will argue that we are fighting against an enemy we can't beat. Still others will wonder why we have not brought justice to Osama Bin Laden. Well, those may be valid points at some level, but it's not helping us move forward as a society.
Our attention should turn towards changing the hearts and minds of those who are oppressive or use religion to inspire hatred against others. This change can't be done through force. We must be willing to reach a dialogue with those who disagree with us and find common ground. I'm in no way saying back down or water down our beliefs, but we need to explore what we have in common and try to further relationships built on that.
And while we are at it.....let's put the towers back up, just as tall as before. It's not a graveyard. It's not hallowed ground. When you fall, you get back up. As a nation, let's get back up, together. We should be showing strength and solidarity, not partisan bickering. Let's demand that our politicians and leaders work hard to keep us safe, and rebuild our reputation as a forgiving country that wants to promote freedom and equality for all people. Let's stop using the dead as martyrs. Let them rest in our minds and hearts. Let's reach beyond politics and rhetoric.
"...tall buildings shake, voices escape, singing sad, sad songs...."