Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never forget (but try to forgive) - 9/11/01

I know I promised fiction a few weeks ago, but it just didn’t happen, because so much else did. And then school started and you know how that goes. I’ve barely had time to write since then. But today is a day that needs to be written about.
Ten years ago. The sky was a deep, perfect blue, no clouds in sight. It was a day like any other. Funny how whenever anyone mentions how ordinary a day is, it turns out to be very, very un-ordinary.
8:46 AM. The North Tower was hit. Just one crash, and if it had been the only one, it could have passed as a fluke. Freak accidents happen sometimes, and they’re tragic, but they happen. Planes don’t always make it to their destination.
9:03 AM. The South Tower. It wasn’t a fluke.
I was eight years old. Barely old enough to understand long division, and definitely too young to comprehend what was going on. My mom, my brothers (six and four years old at the time), and I sat on the living room carpet, watching people dive to their deaths, watching the Pentagon burn, watching the twin towers crumble to the ground, taking helpless hundreds down with them.
I don’t remember everything (I was only eight, after all), but I do remember sitting by the window and looking up at the sky, watching. Wondering.
That day, 3,000 people lost their lives. The World Trade Center collapsed, and with it our sense of security. America was filled with anger, grief, fear, resentment. We wanted the people responsible for this atrocity to pay.
Fast-forward almost 10 years. This May, Osama bin Laden paid with his life. He died, and America found no joy, because there is no joy in death. America found no peace, because the war rages on. America found no security, because there are still others who wish us harm. But in his death, our nation has found justice, however little, and that justice has calmed our spirits, at least for a while.
There’s really nothing I can say on this topic that hasn’t already been said. I don’t even know what I think about all of it. I’ve had ten years to figure it out, but now I think I’m even more confused. I don’t understand a lot (okay, most) of the politics behind decisions that have been made regarding 9/11, and I definitely don’t understand why the attacks happened in the first place.
There’s one thing I do know, though. We have to somehow find a way to make justice and forgiveness coexist. I don’t know how. And I’ve just barely begun to grasp why. You could use the whole “do unto others” explanation, but another one makes more sense to me.
Those terrorists, the ones who are responsible for all this, despite all the evil they’ve done and all the grief and horror they’ve caused, God loves them. Just as much as He loves us. And He wants us to love them, too. That’s the best way I can express it, and it’s not very good, or very eloquent. It makes more sense in my head than it does written out.
But it’s enough, at least for now.

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