Today is September 11th and I don’t need to tell you what happened nine years ago. Every year I get asked where I was. I can tell you easily. I had just finished the night shift at SunTrust’s call center and drove home. My friend Alvin was visiting because Night of Joy was the previous weekend. He was still asleep when I got home and I told my grandmother that I was going to sleep for a few hours.
Before I fell asleep, I decided to watch some TV. The local area had a tire plant that had recently caught fire and when I saw the smoke, I thought it was just more pictures of the scene at the plant. I had no idea that the smoke they were showing was from the World Trade Center. I flipped off the TV and slept for about two hours.
Alvin woke me to tell me what had happened. For the next three hours, we were glued to the TV. I couldn’t watch any more. We knew that Disney and Sea World were closing or had already closed so we figured to drive around and see what we could do. We stopped at a mall out near Disney and they decided to close at 3pm. Not much time for shopping.
That night, I still had to go to work. We were surprised that work was still going on, but I think all of us needed it to know that the world was still going on. Most of the night, we were able to talk because other than people checking balances occasionally, it was pretty quiet.
I remember in the days after that we decided to visit the Holy Land Experience. While other theme parks were closed or having limited hours, the Holy Land was on schedule and it was busy. One of the positive things that came out of the experience was that some of the population had a hunger to understand God more than ever.
I also remember the number of flags and flag decals and all the pro-USA stuff that was on cars, houses and businesses. There was such a unity of pride for our country. It is the likes of which I have not seen before or since. One bumper sticker said it all, “Don’t Mess With the U.S.”
Before long, we saw Congress pass a bill to proclaim the day Patriot Day. America began to use the day to take pride in country and another time to honor the veterans that protect and serve to give us the freedom that we have.
As citizens here in the United States, the slogan of the day has become We Will Not Forget. I think that has positive and negative connotations though. The positive remembrances are easy. We remember the 3,000+ people that gave their lives that day. Almost everyone I know either lost a family member or a friend, or it seems that way. These people are remembered for the differences they made in the lives of those that were left behind. They are loved.
The negative connotations are also easy, even though most of us really don’t want to talk about them. First, the United States now understands that we are no longer secure in that terrorism won’t happen to us. It was a wake-up call. A bitter, nasty reminder that the world does not all love us.
September 11th also reminds us that whether we want to believe it or not, racism still exists. While we united as a country, every person that is Muslim in America or looks like one is looked at differently. There is that look of “Can I really trust them?” out the corner of peoples’ eyes. While it might be somewhat good to be skeptical, it isn’t good to go full tilt and say things like, “Can’t trust a Muslim, period.”
The one thing I’ll say here that has come out of the last few days with this pastor and his congregation wanting to burn Korans (or Qu’ Rans), is that every group of people has a few nut jobs that the rest of the group wish would just go away. As badly as I wish these people in Florida would go back under the rock they came from, many Muslims wish that the terrorist acts never happened. I think both sides of the equation realize that what this small number of overzealous crazies try to do make everyone look bad.
But this celebration of what is now Patriot Day and our slogan of We Will Not Forget leaves me with one question that should make us all uncomfortable. Before I ask it, let me say here first that I know that most Muslims do NOT think this way and I am speaking of these extremists that love the acts of terrorism that was done here and everywhere else in the world.
The question is this: Knowing that we commemorate today, do you think that there are some that treat today like a holiday in the other way? That the extremists treat today as some High Holy Day of victory over the evil USA and/or Christianity? Are there parties going on somewhere in Afghanistan, Iraq, or even right here in the U. S. of A. celebrating that America and/or Christianity had their hat handed to them today?
I know that’s a scary thought. We Will Not Forget, however, I don’t think they will either.
I love you guys!