“Men are respectable only as they respect”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Eight years ago today we shared in the horror of the loss of thousands of lives as terror descended on our nation in the form of violent action without regard to the innocence of the victims. The horror brought our country together and most of the rest of the world like never before. People in all walks of life shared in the pain of the loss of so many resulting in a great outpouring sympathy and patriotism, patriotism that was founded on our belief in the sanctity of life and the freedom of all. We as a people were one.
Over the recent past too many seem to have forgotten what we were and what we might be. The divisiveness that has been the result of the behavior of those who would rather tear us apart rather than find ways we can build together is frightening. It has gone so far that extremists have even called for violence. There are hate mongers both on the left and the right who have become anarchy pied pipers leading people to thoughtless action. History has taught us that when hate replaces reason society ends up paying a terrible price.
When so many of our fellow citizens lost their lives there was a resounding commitment to the principles that had put us in good stead for centuries. What happened? When did so many see anger, violence and hate as the solutions to our very real problems? And why do so many of us stand mute rather than tell all that enough is enough?
I would hope that my fellow citizens will take time today to reflect on what has been happening around us. Do we not owe those who have lost their lives on 9-11 and through the acts of terrorism since something better? I think we do and I hope you do too.
I am again forgoing humor today as I have done on 9-11 ever since that tragic day almost ten years ago. But I am taking the liberty of reprinting excerpts from my 2007 9-11 Daily.
September 11th is really hard for me, it is not just the pain I feel for the loss of so many lives in the Twin Towers on that fateful day six years ago, it is also the lives that have been lost since, both military and civilian. As I was thinking about writing something appropriate today I decided to look back at what I wrote years ago. I know the following will anger some of you as I am sure it did many when I first put it in the daily. I guess if I had to describe myself both then and now it would be that I am a Lugar Republican. I have always found Senator Dick Lugar to be the voice of reason. What follows is my heartfelt feelings of four years ago and I feel much the same way today, I just wish I had been wrong.
You do not have to respond. Each of us deals with 9/11 in our own way, I just wish we would have stuck to chasing the terrorists instead of getting bogged down in Iraq. Anyway here is what I wrote in the 9/11, 2003 Daily.
We will never be the same as a result of the tragic events of two years ago. I am saddened that it now appears that the legacy of those who lost their lives is one of continued tragic events.
I wish the legacy of those who died was our turning to each other during these difficult times as we redirect our energy to the building of a better world for future generations. Just imagine what could have been done for education, healthcare, infrastructure repair, and more if we did not have to spend even more than we have already to stabilize Iraq. We might have seen a world where we built allies through a demonstration of our values, and not one where we have gone so far backwards that we now have to buy our friends.
It is not too late. Each of us can contribute to a living memorial to the 9/11 victims by helping to build the society in which they would have liked to have lived. Each of us, conservative, liberal, Christian, non-Christian, all of us, can in our small way build our personal memorial to the great loss we have experienced. If we do the victims of 9/11 will not have died in vain.
United We Stand!
This is a story of a historic event,
And this is the way that it went.
An airplane crashed thru building one,
Next thing people know two was done.
Now both buildings down of the twin towers,
While people wait for hours and hours.
They watch the police and firefighters strive,
And see if their loved ones are still alive.
Now there are two lights where the towers once stood,
And they shine very bright thru the neighborhood.
This event did not break apart the U.S.A.,
Because we are closer and closer to each other everyday.
I don’t know who wrote the poem and I am led to believe it was written some time ago. Please join me in doing all we can to make the last line real for if we continue to be torn apart we may not ever be able to come back together.
Think not forever of yourselves, O Chiefs, nor of your own generation. Think of continuing generations of our families, think of our grandchildren and of those yet unborn, whose faces are coming from beneath the ground.
T. S. Eliot
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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