September 11. This day brings so much to mind for any American who was mentally awake in 2001. There was such an odd combination of fear and anger, it was like nothing I hope to ever experience again.
And now, it’s twelve years later. Twelve years in which we have have seen thousands lose their lives in an effort to find, engage, and destroy people who want to be like the hijackers before those folks get to civilian populations. Twelve years in which tens of thousands of people have seen their lives greatly changed by that conflict, for bodies can be intact while minds are shaken.
It was a moment we all swore we would never forget. A change we promised we would make in our nation as a whole. To love one another. To focus on what matters. To serve each other and seek the benefit of our neighbors.
Since then, I fear we have have chosen to have a Day of Remembrance rather than lives of remembering. Take a look across the last twelve years. We pause every year on this day and take moments of silence. We read the names of the lost. All of this is good.
But in the intervening 364 days a year, how do we act? What type of leadership do we put up with from our governing authorities? Where do we love one another and seek the benefit of others?
Take a look at the news from the last decade. We’ve driven people to homelessness through real estate profiteering. We have no idea how to make access to health care affordable for people in general. We continue to assume that individual freedom comes without responsibilities. We hold that privacy allows us to kill off the weakest among us.
And we tolerate infantile behavior, paid on the tax dollar, from what should be the 546 most reasonable, most gracious people in the country.
We can lay all the wreaths we want to. We can skip the day on social media to honor the dead. We can buy a firefighter lunch today.
But when 9/12 goes back to the same old routine, it becomes empty. It is as if we think that one day is enough. It is not.
So, what do we do?
Speak a little more sweetly. Talk more with your neighbors. Text less while driving. Give blood. Care. Help. Support. Walk around with your eyes open to the world around you.
Go forward with your life, remembering there is a constant stream of blood, shed from 1775 (and even before, really) until this very day that enables your life.