Thursday, September 11, 2008

September Eleventh

Today is September 11, and on this day seven years ago, two thousand nine hundred and seventy three innocent American citizens lost their lives. People died, families lost their loved ones, friends lost friends and colleagues.

It is a day to be remembered for all time. A day for reflection, and introspection, and memory. A day to consider the loss of people from our national life, and a day for their friends and family to know that our country is with them in their grief.

But at the risk of angering many of our readers, I would like to suggest that the nation must move on. This is my opinion. It is not a policy statement by Concerned Foreign Service Officers.

Psychologists like to speak about the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. And as a nation, we must continue our path through those stages.

For the past seven years, many of us have been locked in anger. Like the divorced person who harbors a bitter hatred for the opposite sex, we have let that anger affect our dealings not only with other nations, but even with their descendants in our community.

It is not constructive, and in the end, it is harmful to ourselves.

To be very honest, I think, our political leaders have facilitated us in our anger. It is easier to agree that "men/women are all pigs" than it is to be the one who says "it is time to get on with your life." But somebody has to say it.

It is time to get on with our lives.

That does not mean that we forget the loss and horror of this day, or that we should not honor those who died for no reason. This day should always be remembered.

But it is time for America, I think, to look around the world, and to relate to our friends, neighbors and other members of the international community of nations, in a way that is unaffected by the despicable actions of a small number of cowardly murderers.

To dress up again in our good clothes, put a smile on our face, and be the America that we were before that date. To assume again a true place of leadership in the world community.

Before everyone forgets why they used to like us.

And before we forget who we are and what we stand for.

Anger, bitterness, xenophobia and fear, were never before attributes anyone could have ever attributed to the America I grew up with.

Let us put those things back in their place, and move on.

1 comment:

Digger said...

There is much that the Israelis do that I don't agree with. But one thing they get really right, which we got really right at the Pentagon and really wrong at the World Trade Center, is that whatever the terrorists blow up, they build right back the way it was. It sends powerfully the message you want to convey, and that I agree with: we are still here. We may bend but we do not break. We are still the America we were before you attacked. You have not changed us.