Saturday, September 11, 2010

Have We Risen Or Fallen?

September 9, 2001

What do you remember?

I remember that I was in my counseling internship that morning. I was in with a client. I heard about the attacks as I said, "Goodbye" to one and took my next one in. I didn't realize the scope of things until I went to lunch later that day and heard about the Pentagon as well as the other flight that went down. Even then, I did not have TV access until I got home after 9:00PM. By then, the gas prices had skyrocketed. Everyone was frazzled -- worried about loved ones who could not be reached because they were in the New York area or simply because the phone systems were overwhelmed by callers. So, at 9:00 I flipped on the TV. Even with everything I had picked up during the day, the images of the twin towers burning was seared into my brain.

I remember the days and weeks after wards, life was a mishmash of events. I remember the dismay when I saw the footage of crowds in other nations cheering that the great United States had received such a blow. I remember the sense of no longer feeling safe from terrorism simply because I lived in the United States. I remember wondering what the aftermath would be -- how long would we have terrorist threat levels?

But I also remember the rallying cry, "Let's roll" when the passengers of the third plane overtook the hijackers, insuring their death, rather than letting the plane reach it's firery destination and take out more lives. I remember the men and women who rushed into help others. I remember the blood drives that helped people states away feel as if they were contributing.

There is a lot of controversy about a mosque near ground zero and even more angst raised by the pastor in Florida who threatened to burn the Quran. While he has said that he won't do this tomorrow, the threat of it caused riots in Afghanistan that left several dead.

I know I don't agree with burning the Quran. I honestly don't know what I think about a Mosque near ground zero. But I do have a question, have we risen or fallen since 9/11? We will never be the people we were before, but are we better or worse? I don't mean economically or even in terms of safety. Do we have more character? Are we more resilient? Do we have more compassion when we hear of terrorist attacks in other countries because we know what it feels like to have fellow Americans cruelly slaughtered?

Have we risen out of the ashes or have we fallen beneath the weight of things that transpired -- not just as a nation but as individuals?


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