In Rememberance of 9/11

For America this is a day for remembrances: we need to remember those who were so pointlessly and callously slaughtered on this date in 2001; we need to remember those brave first responders who rallied to save those they could, often giving up their own lives in the process; and we need to remember those who perpetrated this savage, cowardly attack on innocent men, women, and children without a thought to common decency. This single heinous act proved to America that true evil does exist in the world.

People of my parents' generation used to talk about remembering where they were when news of the attack on Pearl Harbor was announced. How that singular moment in time was burned into their memories. Now I know exactly how they felt, how the memory of that terrible day was seared into their consciousness, because 9/11 has had that effect on me. A friend and I were going to UALR to give a talk. The muddled news of the first impact came across the radio before we were even out of Conway, saying that a small plane had collided with one of the towers of the World Trade Center. As we continued on to Little Rock more details unfolded.

Needless to say, our visit with the faculty and students at UALR was significantly different than we had planned. The maelstrom of emotions was intense—shock and sorrow mixed with rage and a desire for vengeance. The intensity of those angry emotions has faded but not the sorrow for the victims and their families. If you are a religious person this is a day to pray: for God's mercy for the victims; for comfort for the families; for strength to persevere; and for understanding that bad things can happen to the best of people. If you are not religious it is a day for respectful remembrance of the victims and those who tried to save them.

There are no words for our sorrow, no balm for our rage, no reduction in our desire for justice. I have more to say about how we as a nation have reacted since that horrible day, but this is not the time to voice those opinions. Instead, I ask everyone to be contemplative, respectful, and to seek whatever wisdom can be gleaned from an event so evil.

God bless America. #NeverForget