As I usually do as September 11th approaches, I find myself reflecting on how much our world changed on that day in 2001. There is anger in that reflection. Anger toward those who twisted a purported religion of peace into an instrument of hatred. Anger that as a nation we said we would never forget, and yet, we are forgetting. Anger that we are foolishly allowing those who swore to destroy us from within a foothold. This day of remembrance isn’t about “some people” who did “something” as one of those who has gained a foothold by being elected to Congress has said.
That Congresswoman is correct in that “some people did something.” “Some people” allowed their hearts to fill with hatred, allowed their minds to be twisted by a cult of death. “Some people” became murderers, not martyrs. “Some people” became a morality lesson of the worst kind. “Some people,” when apprehended by a nation filled with righteous anger for what was perpetrated on her people, squealed like snared pigs in sharing information. And one, though it took ten years to apprehend, revealed what an absolute and utter coward he was. What sort of “honorable” man uses his own wife and child as a shield? Hey, bartender--in honor of May 2, 2011, I will have two shots and a splash.
And, yet…my reflection for this day of remembrance encompasses “some people” – the almost three thousand people who went to bed on September 10th, never knowing they wouldn’t see another sunset; “some people” in New York City and at the Pentagon rushed into danger to save the lives of others; “some people” called their loved ones from airplanes, from the stairwells of the World Trade Center Towers, just to say one last time, “I love you.”; “some people” onboard United Flight 93 looked death in the eye and with the words of “We’re going to do something” and “Let’s roll” made the conscious choice to die on their terms; “some people” filled New York’s harbor and the East River with private boats to help their fellow Americans get off the island of Manhattan; “some people” stood in line for hours to donate blood, that sadly was not needed on that day; “some people” in a little Canadian town in Nova Scotia saw their population temporarily swell by nearly triple when all domestic flights to the US were grounded at the nearest airport, and graciously opened their homes and their hearts to the stranded travelers.
These are the “some people who did something” I reflect on. These everyday people, who became heroes are the ones I chose to remember. There is a very old proverb, which actually comes from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, that says as long as someone's name is said and remembered, they are not ever gone. My prayer is these "some people" are never forgotten, that we never stop reading their names as etched into metal and stone in the memorials at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. As long as they are remembered, as long as their names are spoken, they will not die. And my fervent hope is that the names of those who became murderers on September 11th are completely forgotten, wiped from memory, and never spoke again.