Monday, September 11, 2006


I've been thinking hard about this post, about what to say. It's interesting that the blogs I read (not many I'm afraid) haven't even mentioned the day - well, with one exception. I thought about just going on with The Story today, but I knew that wasn't what I wanted to do.

I also thought about just not posting at all. It could be a silent tribute maybe; but when I tried that on for size the philosophy was too threadbare to cover the real problem - indecision, uncertainty, and probably a solid dose of simple cowardice. No, I need to say something.

But the difficulty is the timing. We're not there in The Story yet. We're close of course, but not yet there. Silly to argue timing now when I've been happily skipping back and forth like I have a DeLorean hyped up on stolen Lybian plutonium. Still, I want to tell it in the right place, it's important.

So I spent the day scanning the news and looking over headlines and things wondering what to say. Everyone seems agreed that 9/11 was a defining moment for our generation - possibly for our century. That morning changed everything.

That's what they wanted of course, the terrorists. They wanted to shake us, change us, rock the world. I wonder what they expected for us five years out? Did they think Islam would roll over the world, a return to the glory days of the middle ages when great Islamic armies ruled the Mediterranean, took Spain, took central Europe and knocked on the gates of Rome? Is that what those young men were promised with they got on the planes?

The problem with starting change is that once it leaves your hands, once you've gotten things in motion, you also lose control. The ripples from a stone in a pond analogy doesn't even work - too many factors, too many sentient, living beings involved; what comes after the event is impossible to predict fully.

So the only thing they can claim, finally, is the event itself. And that's a sad, sorry sort of victory. Their greatest achievement is death and destruction. No one achieves a real victory on emptiness - there has to be the other side, there must be creation and generation. And that they simply do not have. Even their initial victory was twisted out of shape by the heroism of flight 93. Some chose to die to take lives; others chose to save them.

In the end we get to choose the legacy, we have the right to decide what 9/11 means. And that's probably as personal as the day itself. For me it is still a thing of hope. Because we haven't crumbled as a society. As Americans we have had to accept that we are closer to the world than our borders would lead us to believe - but that also is a good thing. We have made mistakes, we continue to make mistakes, but we also watch ourselves, we learn, we grow. Maybe we don't feel quite as safe and secure as we did five years ago, but that safety was an illusion; knowing that makes us stronger. And I think, I hope, it helps us remember what we do have, and what a wonderful thing it is to be free, to have hope.

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