Wednesday, September 11, 2013
For years I have lamented the tragedy on 9/11, but the lost towers never seemed real to me. I had never been to New York. I didn't see the site of the World Trade Center until some years later, when I visited Ground Zero. By then it was just a hole in the ground. I had never truly felt the presence of those towers, only their absence.
I think this year, for the first time, I have some sense of what it would feel like for somebody living in Manhattan then. Every day I come home from work and look out my window at the Washington Monument. At over 500 feet tall it dominates the Washington skyline. It's a memorial to the father of our country. It's a symbol of American might. It's a shining beacon of freedom.
Today, on this awful anniversary, I tried to imagine what it would be like if terrorists destroyed that monument. If, when I looked out at night, it simply weren't there. I felt a momentary flash of visceral rage at the imagined terrorists, and at the real ones. I realized how much worse it would be if this American symbol also contained the souls of 3,000 individuals, who perished along with it.
I'm trying to draw a lesson from this all. But I can't. Twelve years ago I proclaimed that I would die for my country if it needed me. Twelve years ago I would have joined the military to try to hunt the bad guys. But so much of our foreign policy over the past 12 years seems so senseless now. It all seems so senseless now. Their attack, our decade-long response against anyone we might deem a "terrorist," deserved or not.
The only thing I can do is pray for peace. Pray for the souls of those we lost. And pray that the unenlightened and misguided will eventually come to embrace love.