11 September 2006

Requiescat in Pace

To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
To defy power which seems omnipotent;
To love, and bear; to hope till Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

My father remembers being liberated from a Nazi labor camp by the American Allies on Easter Sunday. My mother remembers being in class when the news that JFK had been assassinated filtered through her high school. I remember watching the Challenger explode when I was in middle school. And I remember hearing that a plane had run into the World Trade Center five years ago and thinking ~ what a terrible accident. And then hearing that a second one had struck and thinking ~ this is no accident, this is a terrorist attack.

I watched in horror as Tower Two collapsed. I sat glued to the television that night, watching every news show. In shock that yet another plane had slammed into the Pentagon no more than a five minute drive from my house and a fourth’s destructive path had been thwarted by its doomed but brave passengers. My feelings of grief for the families, fear for the souls of those not ready to go, shock at the audacity and the sheer magnitude of what had happened, anger at the terrorists and the religion that spawned them, and pride in the bravery, tenacity and will power of the troops, the president and my fellow Americans who banded together in grief and found hope amidst the pain and destruction.

Five years later, the memory that day is still as surreal as the day itself. Some say that true forgiveness lies in forgetting the wound. And I would agree that that is something to strive for in our personal relationships. But a nation cannot afford to forget. It is responsible for the safety of her citizens. And to forget ~ to pretend that it did not happen or to try to assign blame as to who knew what and when is to gift wrap victory to the enemy. And to disrespect the memory of those who lost their lives that day.

Remember…grieve…forgive. But remain vigilant.

Requiescat in pace.

Oremus pro invicem,
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