It was an honor to attend a moving ceremony commemorating the events of 9/11/2001 yesterday. The memorial was very well done and appropriate. I waited in line to get a picture of the wreath in front of the memorial sculpture afterward. As I turned and looked beyond the sculpture a commercial airliner was descending in the clear blue sky on approach to the airport. That visual with a twisted piece of the world trade center next to me stopped me cold for a moment.
In the years since this great tragedy of our time the grim task of dealing with the evil behind it has caused tragedy on a much greater scale. The countries where this unthinkably immoral mindset originated have gone from turmoil to devastation. For America it has resulted in far too many tombstones and injuries, both physical and emotional, to our volunteer defenders.
Back in September of 2001 the results of this tragedy were evident everywhere we looked. American flags flew from buildings and cars. We were all New Yorkers as the horrible work proceeded at ground zero. Politicians set aside their agendas and differences. Churches were filled to capacity. In pain we were united. The shock and cold reality of the world we live in brought us to seek our God. Young men and women lined up at recruiting offices to defend our nation. And the star-studded benefit concerts brought in desperately needed financial relief for the families of the fallen.
As the winter of 2001/2002 approached the habit of putting the flags out every day waned. The flags on the cars and trucks became too tattered and were either removed or landed in a ditch somewhere during a daily commute. Washington went back to bickering. The dust cloud cleared over New York. Church attendance went back to minimal. We all went back to our lives.
The fit young men and women who had lined up at the recruiting offices didn’t have the luxury of simply going back to politics and business as usual. The reality of evil, bullets, and improvised explosive devices kept any semblance of normalcy far removed from them. They did and continue to do the very best they can to accomplish the mission and take care of each other. But the evil continues and so does the devastation it causes.
Back home we have become increasingly divided in the bitter power struggle of bipartisan politics. The racial divide we all assumed was healing came back to us in flurry of violence manipulated by the media. The most precious resource representing the will of the people for justice and order has now come under attack threatening that thin blue line that protects us. The authority that our police officers represent is the true target. The evil that brought down the Twin Towers, burned a portion of the Pentagon, and crashed an airplane in a Pennsylvania field continues to threaten us both abroad and from within.
It is up to our generation to take up the cause of freedom and defend it. It is our turn. We can’t assume that someone else will stand up for what is right and stand against evil. That isn’t how America works.
In times of tragedy it is absolutely appropriate that we turn to God. He loves us and welcomes us when trouble overwhelms us. In Him we find hope and the ultimate solution to our worst fears. How much better would our lives be if we stayed in touch with Him all of the time? How much more helpful would our faith be if times of tragedy didn’t require getting reacquainted before the benefits of such an awesome fellowship could be experienced? How much more real would our faith be if the desperation of our hearts for Jesus was a part of our daily lives? How much more pure would our religion be if it came from the same heart we have during a crisis?
Throughout this great land of ours yesterday we kept hearing that we should never forget. So please remember. Remember what matters and what brings us together.
May God bless America!