Image by 'Storm Crypt'

 Sunday will mark the tenth anniversary of the attack and destruction of the World Trade Center Towers. This was a watershed moment in the history of our nation. I’m certain that most Americans remember what they were doing that September morning as we watched in horror as one plane, then another crashed into the twin towers, followed by a third airplane crashing into the Pentagon and a fourth which crashed into a Pennsylvania field. I remember the smallest details of what I was doing that morning as if it was this morning. It is a date that has been seared into my memory and into the American Psyche; a date when our nation was profoundly changed.
This event made me painfully aware that there are those who will stop at nothing to destroy us; and there are those who revel in our misfortune and applaud those that attempt to harm us. It was a day of dark despair.
It was also a day filled with extraordinary heroism. Imagine what was going through the minds of the firemen, police officers, and ‘first responders’ who entered those buildings, knowing that the higher they went up those burning towers, the less likely they were to escape and yet, they continued their mission to save as many people as possible. Imagine what was going through the minds of those passengers on United Flight 93, who, knowing that their flight had been converted into a missile, decided that they were not going down without a fight. “Let’s Roll” was their battle cry. Their courage and determination embodies the American spirit.
A few years ago, I visited ‘Ground Zero’. I couldn’t bear to go into the memorial museum; it was too painful to see the pictures and artifacts that had been recovered. The hole that was the foundation of the two towers resembled a scar, as if a vital organ or limb had been traumatically amputated. Although I visited the site on a cold day, the air was oppressively heavy. It was as though the souls of all those who died that day were sitting on my chest and preventing me from taking a deep breath. Perhaps their collective voices were telling me: Never forget.
The images of the Statue of Liberty and the WTC in the same photo frame symbolize what America really is. The Statue of Liberty symbolizes our freedom and the WTC was a symbol of the determination of the American spirit, the ‘can do’ mentality that believes that nothing is impossible if we put our minds and our backs to the task. While writing this essay, I frequently looked at this photo and wepted. I cried for those that has perished. I cried in anger, for I still desire vengeance and retribution. I cried in sadness because I realized that my desire for vengeance goes against my Christian beliefs and it is contrary to the Optimist Creed but… there it is. Perhaps one day I will forgive, but not today.
I hope that we never forget what these two buildings symbolized: The indomitable American spirit. We were hit; we were hit hard but, we weren’t brought to our knees. We were strong, we are strong, we shall remain strong; we are free and shall remain free. America has learned from this and has grown.
God Bless the U.S.A.
(for a continuation of this remembrance, click here)