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September 11, 2001
16 Hours Later
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of watching Band of Brothers. Experiencing the dramatic adaptation of the strife and honor of the 101st E company doing a job that had to be done and securing a place in world history invigorated my pride. Monday night, I was sidetracked by another Stephen Ambrose project - Moment of Truth - a History Channel series devoted to asking WWII survivors about their moment of truth. I happened to make a flip comment to my wife. I noted that in our currently fractious democracy we had lost a common enemy and had not had a lighting rod to rally this great dream we call America around. I now both love and hate the foresight of my words on the night of September 10, 2001.
Posted by hoffmang | September 11, 2001 08:06 PM
The price is too high, but I have noticed something. Maybe this is what America needs. Not a wake up call. Not a reason to grab more civil liberties from her citizens. Definitely a chance to mourn, but I detect something else. Something more important. Something we've missed since our morality hit the malaise that was the 60's, 70's, 80's... We are united.
My wife and I drove home from a doctor's appointment today and there was something different about the all too normal streets of the suburban corner of Silicon Valley that I live in.
Almost every house had gone to their garages, attics, basements - and on display was the Stars and Bars. On the way to dinner we went under an overpass near an old friend's old home and there was a young man waving the flag. Not just any flag, but a large flag. And he meant it.
When is the last time that the moral outrage was so universal - so shared. Even the tech intelligentsia left behind the usual bickering and shortsightedness to build news mirrors and try to contribute blood, information and love. Love from the hacker community.
One could read the foreign nationality of every trolling post.
We are outraged and this is good. We had lost our passion somewhere amongst our ill founded police actions and questionable presidential antics - our budget arguments - and our desire to place blame for the last economic bubble.
A man I don't always agree with said something very important today. "Those who harbor them will be considered them." These "faceless cowards" will be hunted and punished. These should be the words that speak on the international stage that we have been wronged. There is no weapon in our arsenal off limits. There is no response save rashness that is too great. The rules have been broken, and it is time for the UNITED States to go and reset those rules.
I know I sound bloodthirsty, but there is something more to this. Our grandfathers - in my case uncles - set out to make those rules in the hedgerows, atolls, and alps. We know must stand up for what is right and practice only cunning restraint.
I hear the criticism now - doesn't this make us no better than the perpetrators? The difference was in my inbox just days before. A Canadian had to say it for it to have credibility and he said it in 1973 - another arguably dark hour. America reaches out to help. We Marshalled and Trumaned and did our best to actually do what was right after we had done what was right. We must have courage - and I think the silver lining to this day is finding that courage again. It's waving down my street.