As I read, listened, and watched editorials and essays, television programs and reviews of 9/11, I realized that it is not so much about what happened on that fateful September morning, but what is happening –what started on that day ten years ago and has continued for a decade, so far.
Illness and diseases increasingly take lives of first responders and thousands who were living, working or visiting nearby – those caught in the toxic cloud.
Many continue to suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder that has robbed individuals and their loved ones of living their days together and deprived them of restful nights.
Long, costly wars drag on and drag us down, draining our financial as well as human resources and threaten our standards of morality and civility. The political climate is pathetically polarized as politicians feed the fears of the people, creating a cold war in the Congress and a lack of civility with the White House – a toxic cloud.
Our economy has been devastated, not only because of the trillion-plus dollars spent in the wars we’ve waged in Iraq and Afghanistan, but by the underlying, widespread sense of insecurity that is a significant factor in the recession – the felt need to hold back from spending and giving of discretionary resources.
It’s as though the fanaticism of the terrorists who took over those four passenger planes has spread like a contagious disease, creating a chilling plague characterized by ill feelings – literally.
Shortly after the 9/11 attack I wrote in this space; “We must not allow the fanatical terrorists to break into our hearts and replace the natural compassion that is the essence of our faith to be killed by germs of hatred.”
“Lincoln reminds us that this nation was ‘conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal.’ Now we are testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure! We are on a strange new battlefield, but we will work together for the same reasons Lincoln expressed so eloquently at Gettysburg.”
The tenth anniversary of 9/11 coincided with our Homecoming service at which I felt a sense of unity, and a reminder of our reason for being: ‘to dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love, and to help one another.’
In Sunday’s NY Times Serge Schmemann told about a personal incident: “I recall the subway ride home in the small hours of the morning. A woman sitting near me began humming loudly. My first, shameful reaction was damn, who needs this? But then a man across the aisle, slumped in his seat in exhaustion, began humming along. Someone else joined in, and soon I, too, closed my eyes and let the
music take over. Drained of emotion and thought, we surrendered to the refuge of sweet harmony.”
Let’s hum together – it will help the healing, inside and out.