Thursday, September 15, 2011

Memorializing the Past, Envisioning the Future

It's not every day that you wake up and plan to visit a graveyard of thousands of people--but yesterday I did. Yesterday, I visited the 9/11 Memorial where just over 10 years ago innocent people, heros, and every day workers lost their lives as three of the center's buildings collapsed after two planes crashed into the Twin Towers. The Memorial recognizes all those who died that day on each of the two planes that his the towers, those who were in the buildings, bystanders, silent heros, and those that were on the other two planes that crashed into the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

It's nearly unimaginable what America would look like now if 9/11 had never happened, what the news would be focused on, how many people would still be in New York City, what our economy would look like, what kids would be learning in schools, what our tolerance in terms of equality might be, what disaster or tragedy may have happened instead.

It's a wonder how many troops lives we could have left unharmed, what the front page of the New York Times would be, each and every day since then--what millions of photos of New York may look like now, who our president might have been from 2004 through 2008.

The truth is that the moment the first plane hit the Twin Towers was the moment America's lives were forever changed--the moment our world became a little more fuzzy--the moment things came crumbling down.

When the teacher I had, at the time of the attacks, recently emailed me, he told me that he
asked his current 8th grade class questions about 9/11--and some of them didn't know how many planes had crashed. For all they knew was that they had been in a war since the moment they could say the word..."war."

I hope that one day the kids I have can visit this site and not be in a war, that they can talk about how well the country is doing, how nice it is not to be battling someone else.

I know those times of calm and happy are few and far between, and that life without war, in our country, and most all other countries, is rare, but I hope for their sake they get to experience that rarity, that they get to experience front page news that makes people smile, rather than news that drives people to duck tape their windows shut. That they get to live life without terror and overhyped media dramatizing inaccuracies. I hope that they get to live with people who tell the truth. And, I hope, above all things, they get to live.

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