I commemorate 9/11 everyday not just on September 11th. Many of you know that my son, the Marine, lost his foot in our war with Afghanistan. Consequently, I’m thankful everyday I still have my baby. Interestingly, I was with my son the other day when two young boys, maybe 9 or 10 years old, noticed my son’s prosthesis and asked how he “broke” his leg. My son said, “I stepped on a bomb and got blown up.” He was hoping that would cure their curiosity but it didn’t instead it perplexed them. “How did you step on a bomb,” they asked. My son wasn’t sure how to respond but having raised three boys I knew it was best just to give them the truth or they would never stop asking why so I said, “He lost his foot at war.” But when these boys looked at me with no idea what I was talking about I realized our post 9/11 suggestion to “go back to work, school, shopping, etc as if nothing was wrong or the terrorists win” really worked. These boys had no idea our country is in a war despite the fact that we have been at war since before they were born – how do they not know this? They probably think 9/11 is a holiday and wish they got the day off school. I didn’t feel it was my job to explain country, loyalty and war to these boys and so I told them to go ask their parents what that was about. However, I also realized that the real reason these boys didn’t know about war is because this war isn’t about Country or loyalty or else we would all be bonded together, young and old, to assist in the efforts any way we could given that our boys and girls were bravely willing to make such the ultimate sacrifice for all of us, instead, this is a war about greed and if we all remain oblivious to it then the greedy can keep taking but if I get on that tangent I’ll digress and it won’t be pretty not to mention it would defeat my point so instead I’ll just say this… if we take into our own hands the ideas of tolerance, acceptance and compassion and start applying those ideas here, now, in the states, with one another, regardless of what our government suggests we do or not do, then eventually war would be easily forgotten because it would have become obsolete, we would have out grown it.
9/11 marks one of the most somber moments in American history. As we think about memorializing it today, we should also consider not moving beyond the event but rising above it. 9/11 is something we don’t want to forget but it is also something we need to assume a higher position on or we are destined to have a repeat. Blaming terrorists, enacting war, and becoming fearful of every person wearing shoes on a plane are not the solutions to radicalism. Tolerance, acceptance and compassion are the solutions.
If we go on the theory that the Twin Towers were taken down by extremists angry with our foreign policy, then it only stands to reason that interfering in another country’s right to be is the stance we must rise above. If we don’t want other country’s mad at us, then we shouldn’t tell them how to be and we should accept them for who they are and not interfere like we did in Darfur (of course those people had nothing we wanted). But really, who died and left the American’s as God? We should question if that’s a role we really want. It seems to me that American’s don’t want to be the saviors of the world because all that really equates is martyrdom. And if history has taught us anything it’s that martyrdom never turns out well for the martyred.
I would like to suggestion another way to commemorate 9/11 today and everyday. Sit down with your children, no matter how old they are – infant to adult, and talk about the need to apply tolerance, acceptance and compassion in the world as the means for creating peace. All experiences are needed for Divine purposes beyond our control, understanding or personal judgments. Who are we to say what is right and what is wrong? This 9/11 preach love, understanding and compassion for all colors, creeds, and circumstances and let’s start grandfathering out the American ideal of superiority for personal gain. But more importantly and beyond 9/11, let’s embrace these higher stances and allow ourselves to be true to our loving and peaceful natures and see what we can create from there, here, on our own soil. Then we can then sit back and watch how our ripple affects the rest of the world in same.
Author of The Clairvoyant Path – Sustainability Starts with the Self