Sunday, September 11, 2011

Commemorating Violence

The violent acts that we remember today were an aberration in American history.  Perhaps we are so scalded by their memory because the event was indeed so painfully shocking.  Were we in a country fraught by daily violence, like Somalia, the day might not have stuck out at all.  Were we tortured by poverty and hunger, like the people of Haiti, it might have been just one more bit of straw on the camel's back.

But we are not in these countries.  We live in a place where our children have never felt the sting of war on our own land, where hunger is real but not the norm, where we have the luxury of resources and stamina to re-build and commemorate.

For those of us who are not mourning those we ourselves lost on September 11, 2001, why commemorate violence when such violence is not the norm for our soil?  Why not, instead, consider our blessings?  The multitudes of people who pulled together to bring life back to New York City and the Pentagon?  The many countries that supported us?  The way we all smiled at each other and shared a warm greeting in the supermarket for weeks after the attacks?  The overflowing pews at places of worship the weekend after?

Shouldn't those of us whose losses were not personal provide enough hope for those whose loses were?

I have been accused of being incurably naive in my optimism, and I cop to that, but what might have occurred over the past 10 years had we been focusing not on how we were destroyed, but how we were built back up?

I encourage you today, as you rummage through photo after photo of the destruction, to read this newsletter that commemorates some of those who were builders and dreamers, lovers and heroes after the fact.

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