Today is the Day We Remember…

History is generational.  Each generation has their view, their perspective.  Some of that perspective translates.  Often, it doesn’t.  We have no idea the real perception of the people who lived their lives 2000 years ago.  We struggle to understand the perception even 200 years ago.

In the early morning hours of December 7th, 1941 our nation was seized by a declaration of war.  It was unprovoked.  The United States was a nation emerging from a depression and from a split in political ideology.  We were a nation struggling for identity in an ever changing world.  The greatest nation on earth without any self confidence.  Those early morning hours changed all of that.

For some, those scars still remain.  The aftermath 70 years later is still far reaching, both in the U.S. and abroad.  Some memories linger.  But as our nation grew into the paranoia of the 50s and into the chaos of the 60s the perspective began to change.  By the time the 70s and 80s came and went, many had simply forgotten the impact that single day had.

In the waxing hours of September 11, 2001, our nation was seized by another declaration of war.  To say that it was unprovoked would be to misunderstand a bigger picture.  But that’s not to say it was a level playing field.  We had been fighting terrorism for decades.  Battles were already being waged.  The bigger picture is to understand we were fighting battles against a foe with no honor.  A foe with no motive other than to terrorize.  There were no armies being assembled or constitutions being drawn.  We were battling a foe who simply wanted to see things burn.

9/11 was a declaration of war.

In the aftermath we saw a nation unite against an enemy.  We saw a nation put aside her differences and pull together to sort through the rubble.  We put ourselves into action to hold those accountable, and to prevent it from happening again.

But our foe has no honor.  Which means the playing field is still anything but level.  We have engaged in battles to win a war where the rules aren’t applicable to both sides.  As a result, the clear lines of success have been blurred.  As we move further and further away from that fateful day, our perception begins to blur as well.

For many, including myself, the scars remain.  The hurt, the pain.  For many, the wounds are still fresh.  But for others, we’ve become a nation struggling for identity once more.  We are without self confidence.  And the most far reaching ripple is that we’ve chosen to fight amongst ourselves.  We are no longer a nation united against an enemy.

But a foe without honor will eventually eat its own.

We need to remember that, and hold true to our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.  We need to disprove that history will teach us nothing, and we need to remember.  We need to break the pattern and pass on the perception to the children.  We are still searching through the rubble, looking for survivors.  We are still looking for answers.   But our generation lost isn’t gone forever.

Today, September 11 is the day we remember.

Today is the day we renew our vows to those we did lose.

Today is the day we renew our vows to those left behind.

Today is the day we take back that lost generation.

Today is the day we renew our vows to make a compromise with each other and not a sacrifice.

Today is the day we become a UNITED STATE once more.


14 thoughts on “Today is the Day We Remember…”

  1. Hi Greg, I am just getting to read this now as I was quite busy these last couple of days. What wonderful words and wisdom! I agree with your perspective and I too felt the “United State” humming throughout the entire city. I feel it every year on that date.

    This September 11th I remembered our victims and heroes by doing very much what I did on that 11 years ago – I stuck to my schedule.

    I will never forget that day. I had a voice lesson and both my teacher and I decided it was the best thing to do to keep that lesson time. I rode my bike to his apartment, in case subway service was interrupted, and ended up having one of the best lessons of my life. It was the final lesson before I went out of town to perform the female lead in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide. (There is also an irony to be found in the subject matter of that Voltaire literary work turned musical theater work. A couple of centuries later the subject matter is still contemporary.) I took that lesson in defiance of the terrorists. I would not give into fear or their tyranny. It would only allow them power over me and allow them to achieve their goal of disrupting my way of life. I also gave blood on that day and spent the rest of it consoling and feeding friends and family. I felt it was not enough, but it was something…

    …I will never forget the kindness that abounded on that day as well. When New York City is in crisis, it really does seem to bring out the best in her citizens. We are surviors and I appreciate how you beautifully illustrate with your words how a crisis can bring us all together, make us stronger and make us shine as a species. I always enjoy your blogs. They uplift the spirit, put a smile on my face and teach me something. Thank you for remembering that day and making what was a very negative event into a positive lesson.

    With love and kindess – Tami

    1. Tami,
      Thanks for sharing your story. It is so hard to imagine with all of the pain and anger I feel, what it must be like for those that live so close. I think your story is wonderful, and illustrates how important it is for us to control our own lives. For many (like myself) sitting in front of the television for hours allowed us to share in the grief, but also gave a little more power to those responsible. For you, you honored our freedom as a nation by not letting terror dictate your life…

  2. This is one of one your best blogs ever to me. So moving & so captivating telling the tale of a horrible event in our history that will never be forgotten nor should it be. I remember the day so vividly. I went to the elementary school & withdrew my children to bring them home. I needed them near me & felt the need to protect them from the new danger that had entered our lives to quickly & unexpectedly. My husband left his office early as he could see the smoke from the Pentagon from his office in Landover, Maryland. We came together as a family watching the news & mourning for the loss of life. Our lives were forever changed that day as was our innocence that people could & would attack us on our own American soil. We came together as a nation & I am so proud of how we handled ourselves on that fateful day. Thanks for the reminder, Greg.

    1. You’re welcome Dava! Thank you for your wonderful comments and for sharing your story! My wife and I took the kids to Richmond, Virginia to visit my parents in July of 2002. We spent a whole day in Washington D.C.. It was my first time visiting our nation’s capital. And though almost a year had passed, the memories of what had happened still lingered throughout the city. It was kind of eery when we visited the Pentagon and were tracked by an armored Humvee as we drove past. All of the government buildings still had barricades in front of the doors. We still managed to enjoy ourselves, but never lost sight of the pain.

      I will say, however, that the 4th of July celebration we took part in in colonial Williamsburg was probably the best Independence Day celebration I’ve ever been a part of. One of the most unifying days, full of hope and promise. The 4th is probably my favorite holiday anyway, but to celebrate it there, after what had happened was unbelievable. It was the power and goodness of the human spirit…

      1. You’re welcome. Thank you for sharing your special 4th of July story with me! A truly memorable event in our lives. Good to know that through tragedy also comes love and unification of a nation.

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