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Our View: Today, we mourn; 9/12, we unite

Posted: September 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

Much will be said and written today about 9/11 and the events surrounding this fateful moment in our nation’s history.

But, for most of us, the images and memories and ramifications are still difficult to fathom.  We watched and listened in disbelief like Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” at this unspeakable attack on American symbols and innocent civilians.

Here it is, a decade later, and it is still hard to get our minds around all that happened.

What is it that we should think about today, on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11?

That foreign enemies were attacking America’s mainland for the first time in nearly 200 years? That Americans were jolted out of their safe, couldn’t-happen-here, homes into a reality that most of the rest of the world lives in? Do we think about the 2,977 people who died that day who seemingly, within one or two degrees of separation, touched everyone in the country personally?  Do we think about the thousands of acts of individual heroism many by public safety personnel and many more by strangers helping strangers witnessed only by them and God? Or do we all gather together and pay tribute because, as one of our colleagues said, “I just don’t want to be alone today.”

Maybe what we do is just hang together as a country.

We on the Editorial Board are struggling with our emotions today just like you are. It is difficult to agree on one aspect of this tragedy for our focus and overwhelming to get our minds around the totality of it.

For us, 9/11 is somewhat like a death in our family. We each find different pain and different solace in an event that will forever change our family and our country. Were these lives just lost in a senseless terrorist act or did their terrible taking lead to a greater good?

Many will write eloquently and speak inspirationally today on the anniversary of 9/11, and we, like you, will embrace this in our own way.

What we would like to talk about today is 9/12.

On 9/12, we rallied as a country — “one nation under God,” as we like to say.

Religion, color, ideology were set aside. We were one.  This should be the preeminent, lasting memory of 9/11.

Today, in every ballpark in America, the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” has become more than just a ceremony. It is an emotional event, and you can see it on the faces of the people around you.

We routinely honor and embrace brave patriots in the military, unlike the reception for soldiers during the Vietnam conflict.  We are better focused on the new set of enemies that threaten our way of life. And our naivete to our own domestic safety has been replaced with risk-reducing security measures.  These are good things.

The place where the national lesson of 9/11 has been forgotten is in our divided and partisan nation’s capital.

The framers of our Constitution were a diverse group who were divided, argumentative and ideologically different. Yet, they overcame their differences to a higher calling and created a document that changed the world forever.

As Ben Franklin said, “Gentlemen, if we don’t hang together, surely we will hang separately.”

Today, on 9/11, we mourn, remember and reinforce our resilience. Tomorrow, on 9/12, let us re-embrace who we can be when we choose to and “hang together.”    

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