"A word in earnest is as good as a speech"
~Charles Dickens: Bleak House

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I remember ......

I went back to look at whether or not I had written about my experience of 9/11 before and I had. But as I looked back I realized that I have been writing this blog (I know, not on a regular basis) for a few years now. So much in my life has happened in these years ... so much has happened since 2001. And yet the remembrance and the pain is the same today that it was on that morning twelve years ago.

When one of my classes happen to fall on 9/11 I start class with The Daily Show. So many people made powerful statements but Jon Stewart's really is the one that still gets to me, still gives me a lump in my throat and still makes me remember what life was like after .... when we came together, when we were, but for a moment, one nation again.

Many people remember 9/11 as a tragedy - the number of lives lost - the people that took out their vengeance on us. It is a day of pain and anger for many. I try and remember this day as the first time I realized what it really means to be American. Not enough people know that today is a National Day of Service, a day to give back to the community and come together as a people.
I teach a concept in my course about the rearview mirror impact on social change. Basically it is that current social change is impacted by recent history. So I wanted to take a look at how September 11th has had an impact on the debate on whether or not we should get involved in Syria. I think is has. Americans are what reporters are calling "war weary." George Bush's "War on Terror" (continued by President Obama) hasn't made the change people thought it would. We are still in Afghanistan and Iraq is still damaged. The impact of the decisions made on 9/11 have increased the probability of a terrorist attack on American soil by lone jihadists ~ American born, American made. And then there is what we have lost since 9/11 the Patriot Act has created a country where in the name of national security we can no longer trust in the tenets of the Constitution - Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
~ Benjamin Franklin
It is unfortunate that the US government waited so long to attempt to help the people of Syria. Had this been two years ago when innocent people were being killed by their government I think there would have been more support - before Al Qaida went in to give rebels the support that American was not giving. Now our involvement would do nothing more than allow people who dislike us to gain power in a frantic nation - reaching out desperately and willing to support whoever will help them survive.
I recently lost a very good friend. The band of misfits I called my family in high school came together to help each other process and deal with the loss. There were tears and hugs and laughter and memory. But together we buried our friend and grieved as one. That is how I felt on 9/11. Like I had an entire nation of family and together we grieved, buried our friends, and dealt with our loss. And so today I remember that and that is what I will share with the students in my classroom this morning - students who were too young to experience the nation coming together.

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