Tuesday, September 13, 2011

10 Year 9/11 Tribute Piece

This is the first year I haven't brought myself to pull out those carefully bundled pages in my old journal. The day is still young yet, and before I head off to bed, I may find my hands digging through the box labeled "Journals & Keepsakes" to hold that journal that's all but falling apart, my fingers opening to the section where those 9 loose pages are located.

Those 9 pages hold so much anger, confusion, sadness, and fear for what occurred today, ten years ago.

It's been said that with our generation and those older than I that the memories of 9/11 will fade or die when we do. That the event will be marked as a historic event only to be read by future generations as Pearl Harbor and World War II were for me in a text book. I can't find it in myself to disagree either.

This last Friday, I attended a brief tribute to 9/11 with my children, held at my daughter's school first thing that morning with the flag ceremony. I found myself embarrassed when reciting the pledge of allegiance as I hesitantly stumbled over a few of the words that once came to me as easily as my name. The words felt almost foreign coming out of my mouth, and I felt ashamed to think my patriotism has now come to this. I, who rushed off to join the military, to be a part of what keeps this country safe, who served proudly, felt myself struggling to remember the words learned in grade school.

Is this from my lack of faith in our now crumbling government, or a lack of faith in myself? I haven't yet found the answer for it.

I tell myself I won't read the words written by my own hand when I was 16 because I don't want to relive the roller coaster of emotions felt that day, but the reality of it is that I know I need to read the rawness of the incident as a whole in order to remember that there was a day in my life when our country came together, grieved together, feared together, and promised retaliation together.

Now, we need to come together again, and forgive together. So much racism has been born from that devistating day that we do ourselves a terrible injustice. our pride has cast a far wider shadow and we have created ourselves judges of man. Our own country demands freedom and agency to be given to all her citizens, and we are no longer presenting our country to the world in a way that garners trust and respect. How long before we are no longer respected among the other world powers, how long?

Stand beside me, pray beside me, remember beside me, what this great country should stand for, and the next time you see a flag, take off your hat, place your right hand over your heart and with humility and grace, bring yourself to pledge your allegiance to the flag of the US of A.

Don't forget what it means to be an American. We are, after all, supposed to be examples, a shining beacon, if you will, towards accomplishing  world peace, freedom, and justice for all.