It was quiet.
The planes were out of the sky. It was quiet. Flags were everywhere. Small ones attached to cars, others being unfurled from freeway overpasses.
You could hear the flags beat their drum march in the wind. And when you looked up – all you saw was sky.
People were polite.
I lived in Los Angeles and for the first time it was possible to change lanes with signaling and without someone trying to beat you to some unseen finished line. People were polite. The only honking was in support of those standing on the sides of the road waving Old Glory. Beautiful.
So much beauty after a day of hell.
All this while we collectively looked over our shoulders – partly looking out for any possible second wave of attack and partly to remind ourselves that 9/11 did happen the previous day – it wasn’t a dream – it was however a nightmare. We all know someone who was connected to one of the planes, one of the buildings…
They held each other. Unity. National unity in a time of great crisis.
It felt good to be an American.
It felt good to look each other in the eye, with a nod knowing we were in this together – whatever it was – wherever it took us – no matter the end.
We were united in crisis.
One people. One nation. One voice.
And now …
…we are still in two wars and our nation’s footing has been rocked by a deep world-wide financial crisis.
Crisis. A word used so much it’s beginning to loose it’s power.
This past Friday, September 11, 2009 marked the 8th anniversary of that tragic day and the 8th anniversary of a nation at war.
Eight years…wow. The Korean War lasted five in real life (11 on television, rest in peace Mr. Gelbart) and Vietnam lasted around 13 (for us).
And this 9/12 – this year’s 9/12 – protests were organized partly by conservative political action groups and partly by a man named Glenn Beck. His 9/12 project.
I just, as I was writing this, I just went to his 9/12 website. On it he has a link explaining what the spirit of 9/12 means – and in this bit of transcript he starts off great – wanting to get back to a spirit of unity where partisan politics aren’t measured from one person to the next. Where we can achieve great feats by working together – he speculates even on solving our energy and health care problems.
But then he goes on and calls those who don’t agree with him names – completely destroying the notion of unity that he presented at the start. Calling Obama supporters “radicals” and goes on to try to paint the political left as, essentially, communists – anti-American – the enemy.
I am a Democrat and I wept on 9/11. I felt helpless. Angry at an unseen enemy who would send his minions to do what he himself was too much of a coward to attempt. Cowering in a cave, cowering behind a beard.
I am a Democrat and I wore uniforms once. Not in the military, not officially, I was first in Boy Scouts but when that felt too limiting I joined the Civil Air Patrol, The United States Air Force Auxiliary – and a couple of years later, when I was a teenager, I joined DeMolay a Masonic Youth Fraternity. I saluted, I marched, I knelt in honor of Old Glory and what that flag represented.
And I am now a Democrat and I still love my country. I am not anti-American and I know how to mourn the sacrifices of those who have fallen to protect my freedom. I honor them with reverence. I honor them with tears and at one time a salute. I honor them quietly, with respect.
2,993 people died on 9/11/01.
6,291 people were injured that same day.
4,261 U.S. Soldiers have died in Iraq.
746 U.S. Soldiers have died in Afghanistan.
And death wasn’t limited to U.S. Soldiers – between contractors, civilians and journalists the death toll in Iraq (including our soldiers) is over 700,000 people and in Afghanistan just over 20,000 people.
Osama Bin Laden and his brainwashed murders caused the deaths, directly and indirectly, of over one million people.
One million souls because of one selfish man and his delusions of power – that’s all it took.
We have the bill of rights. They can speak their mind Say their peace. Get it out.
It’s their right.
The constitution doesn’t say that there are days when they shouldn’t – it leaves a great deal to personal choice. So Glenn Beck and his 9/12 project marched on Washington D.C. this Saturday to protest taxation, health care reform, the bank bailout (done by President Bush and continued under President Obama) and the general concept of Socialism and Communism. Many with signs depicting Obama or his policies as those of either Communist Russia or Nazi Germany.
And there appeared to be some mention of soldiers who have died to protect foreign and domestic enemies – with at least one protester (according to reports) alluding that there are some domestic enemies currently in the White House.
None of this has anything to do with the events of 9/11 or 9/12/2001.
Over one million people have died because of a single day.
On 9/12/01 it was quiet.
The skies were clear. The flag was beautiful. Tears united us.
And we were polite to each other.
We were one people, one nation, indivisible….
That’s what 9/12 was about.
It wasn’t about Glenn Beck.