I have flown a flag in my yard as much as I could from the day I had my first home. I don't do it because it is popular or because of some tragic event in the world. I have done it to honor the men and women who fight for it and those that fought before. I do it because I love my country, even now when I think it is headed to a scary place. But that is not what I want to talk about with you right now. Pull up a seat, relax a bit and wonder through my mind a while.
That morning I had the news station on for my home schooled, third grade son to watch while I did morning chores. He was to watch an hour of news, choose a story, and write a short article based on what he learned. A slow, boring, safe morning quickly turned into a horrific, life changing, moment in hell.
While it was surreal to see the smoke flow from the first tower as the news coverage started, it is almost a click you felt as you saw that second plane fly into the other tower. You knew that the world, your world, the world your children knew, would never be the same.
The days that followed drew our nation together. We had a common thread, a common sorrow, a common fear, a common pain, a common cause. I saw the flags go up all through the neighborhoods. You couldn't buy them in the stores. You saw people reach for a way to show that they loved the land they called home. You saw people come together to fight the common enemy, mend the common wound.
It has been ten years. It has been ten years since we saw the towers fall, the wall penetrated, and the field scarred. It has been ten years that could have been used to make this country stronger and more together as a whole. We could have done so much better with the lessons from that day but we wasted them. We are dishonoring the memory of those lost.
We have changed as a nation but did we change in the right way, heading in the right direction? I don't think so. Let's think about what is different and how things have gone since the day the world stopped turning.
The people that died that day were just working and doing their jobs. They were taking care of life and earning their due. Now days they would have a tough time of it since a lot of those jobs just aren't around any more. People have to take a job, any job, just to have a job and that's if they are lucky. Too many have no job to even settle for.
The firefighters, police, and other servicemen didn't have to be there that day but they were. They lost their lives saving others. Those that survived are suffering but have to fight for simple healthcare. In Detroit, they fight for the basics, make due with less then adequate, and are still asked to do the near impossible.
The soldiers stood up to fight the evil that made those planes into weapons. They risked their lives, their families security, and their health to protect us. They come home to a country that allows them to suffer from PTSD, live in cardboard boxes, and is threatening to take away some of the basic programs they are offered.
We have always bickered about the politics of our nation. That day should have brought home the fact that no matter which side was in power, they have a basic duty to protect and serve this nation. We the people should be able to be free because that was what the people who started it all wanted. But look at us now. We are at war with ourselves. We are making it so much easier for those enemies that wish to see us fall. We will cause ourselves to trip with all our back stabbing politics and throat cutting tactics. Are you kidding me????
We learned nothing in that moment, those hours, the ten years since.
115 nations lost people that day. Did we use that common horror to grow closer to those nations? NOOOO of course not. Does their heart bleed less then ours? Do they not have struggles? We could not find a common ground in the foot print of that painful day?
Look at your local news tonight. You will see people killing their neighbors over nothing, parents killing their babies over tears, and politicians fighting over the right to love someone. You will see talk about laws to keep homeless from setting up tents, toys from happy meals, and the hungry from being fed. This is what we stand for now?
Why is it when I drive down the streets I don't see many flags flying in support of the country we claim to love so very much? Where did all those flags go? Did people forget that we are in this together, that the change has to start in our homes, that we must stand up for what is right? I even see flags flown upside down sending the message of distress. In the United States Of America? This is what we've become?
Has the nation started to fall like the towers did that day so long ago? Can it recover like that Pentagon has? I think we could be strong again if only we, as a nation, could grow a back bone as strong as those passengers on Flight 93.
If only we remembered how it felt to be neighbors, friends, and countrymen with that common reason to fly our flags.