#NEVERFORGET was all over my Facebook Newsfeed this morning and well it should be.
The morning of September 11, 2001 saw the worst international terrorist attack in American History. It was a day of untold tragedy and a blistering example of man's inhumanity toward man. Everyone I know has a story about that morning. For the majority of us, fortunately, the story surrounds what you were doing, where you were when you saw or heard about it or who you were with. For a few of us, unfortunately, the story is centered around the unbearable loss of a friend, family member or loved one who happened to be at the World Trade Center, or at The Pentagon or on one of those planes, or who were the brave first reponders that horrible morning. regardless of all circumstance, I think it is pretty safe to say that September 11th, 2001, the majority of Americans (and the world) were rocked to the core.
How could something so horrific happen in this country? How could something so counter the nature of humanity take place on such a scale in the modern era?
The visual of the aftermath of 9/11 was alarming. People in the most industrialized nation in the world, in the unofficial capital of the world, New York, were covered in dust and soot. Two buildings that once stood tall in America's largest city and which symbolized strength and prosperity reduced to rubble. Thousands of people walking home over America's iconic bridges unable to use any transportation.
The emotional toll was debilitating. To watch as mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives posted pictures of their friends and loved ones all over the city in hopes that they were ok and survived. People telling stories of talking to people on the phone as the attacks happened. People who literally listened to their friends and family die as the buildings fell or the planes crashed. To hear the story of the brave passengers of Flight 93 who sacrificed their lives to save the lives of others.
"Why did this happen?" "What did we possibly do to incite such horror?" "Who did this?" All these questions and many more on the minds of not only Americans, but others around the world who saw this attack and were left in shock. A feeling of hopelessness began to settle in and the spectre of fear started to descend upon us all but then something happened...
It was something that was not planned. It wasn't contrived. It forced upon any of us. It came organically. The true and genuine sense of humanity and community took over. People were overwhelmed with the need to act. They wanted to help. People reaching out to one another regardless of race, sex, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, et. al. People comforting strangers who lost someone in the attacks or were personally affected. People began to reconnect with friends and family they had not talked to in years just to check in. Organizations from all over the world sent care packages to help those in need.
It even had an effect on a bitterly divided government still smarting from a hotly contested election just 10 months prior. Members of both houses of Congress actually came together to sing "God Bless America" on the steps of the capital as a gesture of unity.
What 9/11 did, in all its horror, was show us that while we may have our differences and disagreements as deep as they are, we are all Americans. We all have a shared purpose of being united. And for that short bit of time that horrendous act had the exact and polar opposite effect on our country from what was expected by those murderous bastards who planned it the attack.
But sadly, that unity and sense of purpose was quickly forgotten and so we come to September 11, 2015. We are a country more divided that anytime in modern history. Rife with petty partisan brinkmanship in Washington, class warfare, racial strife, police brutality, outright intolerance (and the acceptance of such), violence and hatred. And of course the cable news channels will point to our leaders as the problem and our leaders will point at each other and the game plays on and on, but we only have one group to blame, ourselves.
We don't have to accept this from one another. We are stronger as a people. There is common ground in all arguments and disagreements, but we have to talk to one another and not at one another to find it like they do on the news channels. We should all realize like we did right after 9/11, we are all Americans fighting for the same goal, to make a more perfect union. We may not agree on how to get there, but we should at least listen and respect one another's ideas.
So in an attempt to try and reclaim a bit of that harmony and goodwill, I want to challenge everyone who will #NEVERFORGET, to also #REMEMBER.
#REMEMBER those who lost their lives on 9/11.
#REMEMBER those who have lost their lives fighting the wars 9/11 brought.
#REMEMBER those who have come back from war and are not the same for it.
#REMEMBER the sacrifice.
#REMEMBER the unity our country shared in the hours, days and weeks after 9/11.
#REMEMBER we are all Americans regardless of color, race, sex, creed, religion, sexual orientation or political affiliation. And that Americans of all those steps lost their lives that day.
#REMEMBER we are stronger united than we are divided.
#REMEMBER that there is no problem that we as a country cannot solve when we work together.
#REMEMBER we can disagree without being disagreeable.
P.S. To those that have grown accustomed to my usual fare of obscure pop culture references and "witty" analysis, rest assured, it will all be front and center on my next post. Till then, seriously, #REMEMBER.