We Will Never Forget

I talked to my 7-year old son this morning about 9/11. We have talked about it the last couple of years. He is a bright kid, and he is a decent kid, which means that his intuitive response to hearing about the tragedy is not to say, “what did we do that caused them to do this to us?”. Rather, like all people with a semblance of a moral compass, his natural response to hearing of the attack is to ask, “what types of monsters would do this?”. (I should probably add that because he does not suffer from a mental illness, he also did not ask if perhaps we did it to ourselves as part of a conspiracy amongst a few thousand covert operatives who are super sneaky and good at keeping secrets). So between Mitchell’s intuitive rejection of “blame America”-ism and “truther”-ism, he is, at 7-years old, significantly more intelligent and more decent than about 50% of the American population. I am a proud dad.

But here’s the thing – It isn’t funny. I got caught up watching a little video montage deal tonight on Fox after my dinner, and I just could not stay away from my keyboard. The events of eleven years ago today remain the most important event in American life for anyone reading this blog (unless I have increased my audience with folks over the age of 80). It is fascinating to me that for all of the talk about the moral bankruptcy of Wall Street (a patently false generalization for anyone who actually knows the vast majority of the folks who work the trading pits and investment banks of our country), there appears to be far more moral clarity amongst those “bastards” than there is throughout much of American society. Of course, many in the financial community sort of “lived” 9/11, so you can understand why there may be more rememberance, understanding, and conviction amongst them than in other spheres of society. But since when is knowing someone who died a requirement for understanding the horror and immorality of mass murder? Since when is being in the zip code an act of war takes place a requirement for appreciating the reality and gravity of what we face? I have written extensively about my lack of respect for the disgraced politician, Ron Paul, but there is NOTHING that did more to turn me against him and his ilk than their pitiful downplaying of the significance of 9/11 (and for many of his best friends, their celebration of it). I can tolerate political differences with almost anyone about almost anything, but I can not and will not tolerate moral ambivalence about 9/11. The victims of 9/11 were not just the workers in the twin towers and fire-fighters who died trying to save them. The victims were all of us, as never has America and what she stands for been more threatened than on that fateful day. Our 220+ year ability to defend our own borders in the continental United States was undermined, and civilians were killed en masse like never before. A particular vigilance would be required that had never before been considered necessary.

That vigilance is all but gone eleven years later. Sadly, we know what would end up restoring it. I pray with every ounce of breath in my body that it will not take 9/11 Part 2 for Americans to remember the nature of the enemy we face. I pray that the horror of that day will never have to be re-visited. There are two things we all must do to honor the memory of that day: Take on the moral intuitition of my 7-year old son, who simply can’t believe there are people so evil as to have done this; and then, seek to vigilantly defend ourselves against those very people. Today we mourn and remember. Tomorrow, we remember again.