America, Let’s Reclaim 9/12/01
Why I miss September 12, 2001
On the morning of September 11, 2001, I wasn’t feeling well and had slept in. My wife woke me with the news that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I quickly made my way to the television, and for the next several hours, my wife and I were glued to the news.
The tragic events of September 11, 2001 rocked the world and would forever change the United States of America. And, of course, for the families of those who lost their lives on that fateful day, their lives will never be the same.
It’s my hope that our nation never has to live through another day like September 11, 2001, but I must confess to you the following:
I do wish we would bring back the spirit of September 12, 2001.
When Americans woke up on September 12, they saw the world differently. They looked at one other differently.
And most of us acted accordingly.
There’s a great passage in the ancient biblical book of Ecclesiastes that speaks to the sobering effect that death and tragedy have on human consciousness.
A good name is better than precious ointment,
And the day of death than the day of one’s birth;
Better to go to the house of mourning
Than to go to the house of feasting,
For that is the end of all men;
And the living will take it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
(Ecclesiastes 7:1–4, NKJV)
Americans woke up on September 12 with a deep, painful realization that life is fragile, that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow, and that love and compassion are the highest virtues to which we can aspire.
Of course, we began to see (to steal a line from Abraham Lincoln) “the better angels of our nature” even on September 11 itself, when so many first responders and everyday Americans exemplified courage, sacrifice, and tireless devotion to the cause of saving lives and helping those in need.
We saw it even in our politicians — when Members of Congress (of both political parties) joined hands and sang “God Bless America.”
And that spirit of love, compassion, and patriotism only intensified on September 12 and the days following.
While I hope we never experience a day like 9/11/01 again, I do miss 9/12/01. We sure could use the spirit of 9/12/01 today.
May it not require a tragedy to remind us to live in love and unity.