Ground Zero, Square One

As today marks the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, I thought it was only appropriate that I reflect on the events of that fateful day, through the lens of our current culture.

Just about every American you talk to can remember where they were that day…like it’s this generation’s Kennedy assassination or Pearl Harbor. I, personally, was living in California at the time, so the chaos on the opposite coast of the country felt more surreal than frightening. By the time I was awake and watching the coverage, both the towers had already collapsed like an implosion in a blockbuster disaster movie, and while I cringe at my own words when I relay it like that, I think a lot of us were in movie mode that day—not entirely willing to believe the things we saw and heard were really true.

The one good thing I saw coming from the evil of that day of large-scale homicide was the spirit of unity it created in a country so often divided by petty grievances and paradigm rifts. For a few months, it seemed like perhaps the United States wasn’t actually losing its footing on the slippery slope toward becoming a post-Christian nation. The unspeakable evil perpetrated on the American people kindled a flame in the hearts of many, and the small irritations over minutia passed away as we all fought to make sense of the senseless, and for many, to grieve the lost.

A combination of being back on the east coast now, as well as listening to all kinds of accounts of September 11th on the radio as we close in on the anniversary has changed my perspective on the events of that day. It’s transitioned from a three-thousand mile distant atrocity to a backyard horror that personally touches the lives of people I know. But I’m also seeing a new atrocity to add to it all.

We’ve grown forgetful.

We’re back to our petty grievances. God continues to be maligned in the public sector. The small-town camaraderie September 11th created in New York is only a rosy-hued memory now, stained by bus exhaust, chronic hurrying, and national economic turbulence that has made so many of us forget how to bear with one another.

It makes me think of the thousands of individuals who carry on every day without their loved ones…without people who lost their lives in the towers, in the pentagon, or on flight 93. These families and friends forge onward bearing wounds that will never entirely heal, but now must do so in the absence of real moral support. The fact that we as a nation have reverted to our pre-September 11th ways, in my mind, profanes the sacrifices of those families. The least we can do for individuals who sent firefighter spouses into burning buildings to try to help–only to see those heroes again when their bodies were pulled from the rubble—is to remember. Really remember. To remember is to be a people who remain changed by the events of that day. We kid ourselves to think the war waged against us by terrorists isn’t personal. As much as it hurts, how much more vigilant would we all be if we continued to take a personal interest in the people the violence affected most?

Join me today in a moment of thankfulness for the ten years of safety we’ve had on our own soil, purchased by the sacrifices of those whose full-time job it is to keep us safe, spurred by the unalterable loss of the thousands of people who never saw it coming.

God Bless America, in spite of ourselves.

About Rebecca Minor

Rebecca P Minor draws perspective from her pursuit of various art forms, including writing, drawing, and music (singing mostly, though there was a time when a trombone figured in.) A 1997 graduate from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Becky earned a BFA in animation. Since then, she has worked as a character animator, a freelance artist, an art teacher, and most importantly, a wife to her husband Scott and mother of three boys. She is in the process of republishing her current body of work. The first installment of The Windrider Saga, Divine Summons, is available as an ebook novella on Amazon. She also has short stories available under the umbrella of The Windrider Canticles.

9 comments on “Ground Zero, Square One

  1. Yup. What she said.

    Not only have we forgotten about what really happened, but there’s a huge increase in the amount of talk about glorifying other faiths while denigrating Christianity. Worse yet, many churches are shelving the Gospel or giving it simple lip-service so as not to “offend” those of other faiths.

    If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. — 2 Chronicles 7:14.

    • 2Chron7:14 seems to be the verse of the decade, doesn’t it. I question whether we American Christians know what it means to humble ourselves anymore. What greater act of presumption is there to decide we can edit the Gospel in the name of winning believers? And what good is it to win believers to half-truth?

      Thanks for your great thoughts, Cindy!

  2. I’m probably gong to open a hornet’s nest here, but the thing to me that is the most insulting, the most maddening is the extreme lengths or leaders go through to be PC about ‘that tragedy’.
    We bend over backwards to not dare step on the toes of folks who might dare be offended by our grief or collective feelings about ‘that tragedy’ and in doing so we make victims of our own people in a way far more insidious and lasting than what an explosion of planes and steel could ever have done. And that, to me, is more threatening, more depressing, and more hopeless than act of terror.

    • I agree! Politicians at least used to know that the people who elected them were the ones they needed to have loyalty to, instead of people from other countries who despise us Americans and everything we stand for; who take our tax dollars as aid and give back insults and attempts to murder Americans.

    • Too true. If we are too effective at destoying ourselves, the terrorists only need toi sit back, watch, and laugh. 😦

  3. Well said, Becky. I will never forget – that day, or those who died needlessly, and I’m including ALL those who died needlessly, victims and terrorists.
    So much tragedy for so little reason.
    Evil sucks.
    I’m grateful God is bigger and better and “gooder” than what happened that horrible day.
    Blessed be the name of the Lord.

    • How horrifyingly true. It’s sad people who never saw it coming had to die, but how immensely sad that there are people who head into death, eyes wide open.

  4. Great post, Becky.

    It’s funny. I was born in New York City, and on weekends when I was young, my father would take me on Saturdays to lower Manhattan — Book Store Row, south of Union Square; and a vast, dark wholesale spice/nut/coffee warehouse on Chambers Street (where he would discover exotic munchies and ingredients for experimental recipes at home…) which was part of the acres of blocks cleared away to make room for the World Trade Center towers. But on 9-11 I had just started a job in San Diego, and awoke to the TV news and pictures. Not a day has passed in 10 years that I have not wondered if turning on the TV in the morning would reveal another attack.

    The week before 9-11, my son ended his internship (TV news production) at MSNBC. They are across the river from lower Manhattan — the towers could be seen from the network’s parking lot. He saw the news, volunteered to show up and work, and they were grateful he did — NJ highways were clogged and closed, and he wound up subbing for, like 36 hours. He never looked back: part time work there (worked on the Imus show); then to stations in Palm Springs, Seatlle, Las Vegas, where he is Exec Producer of the morning news.

    But watching a VERY familiar neighborhood from a VERY remote place, was a strange sensation for me.


  5. My Dearest Becky,

    What a sad but true tale. For some reason, we as humans have a short term memory when it comes to learning lessons. Especially if we weren’t burned by the fire ourselves. How many times did the Israelites forget who their God was, while crossing the wilderness. They had God in their midst in a holy tabernacle! If each of us shine our light then perhaps we can show each other the way. I have said before that we are likened to sheep by the Lord. If this be true then if we follow the Lord then we lead the multitudes with our little light. LET IT SHINE!

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