SEP 11, 2001. A day of great loss for our nation. But, at the time, out of that loss, there was the prospect of great gain. For me, that was symbolized by seeing President Bush and Senator Daschle hug, as the President arrived to address a joint session of Congress, shortly after the 9/11 tragedy. Sadly, our nation has let that prospective gain slip through our fingers.
Like most Americans who remember 9/11, there are specifics that stand out in my memory.
– We were still living in Orange County, CA and we were just waking up when the news started to come in. When I saw the 2nd plane go into the twin towers, I told my Wife, “This is no accident. You’re gonna see that replayed over and over and over.”
– Since I’ve had the experience of dining at Windows, the restaurant at the top of one of the WTC towers, I thought to check their Website. It was strange to see “views” on that Website … “views” that no longer existed.
– It wasn’t long before I went out to put up Old Glory on our Fountain Valley townhouse and during the day, we went to join others in prayer in the Sanctuary at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa (CCCM).
– I recall worrying about my Wife going to work in a high-rise in the City of Orange and I remember the eeriness of seeing one of the first planes on approach to John Wayne, after air travel resumed.
But, I also recall that sense of potential gain, resulting from the loss. In addition to the Bush/Dascle hug, I remember:
– The pews being even fuller at CCCM.
– Drivers going out of their way to be courteous on the Southern California freeways.
– EVERYONE standing, with a hand over their heart and singing “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America”, at Angels games.
– A sense that, as a nation, we were making a conscious effort to gain strength through our differences, instead of letting our differences divide us.
I truly thought that we were exhibiting what we said we were … One Nation, Under God. God’s Word teaches us – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28. It appeared to me that this was exactly what was going on but, maybe even more tragically than 9/11 itself, we failed to nurture our newfound gain.
Currently, we see little, if any, evidence of that prospective gain. Looking at the current presidential race provides proof of just the opposite. Once again, its just one candidate pitted against the other, based on their differences. I think that’s pretty sad. With that said, I’m not endorsing a “Can’t we all just get along, lets all get together and sing Kum Ba Yah” approach. Staying with the musical theme, I do believe that “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean that because others see things differently than I do, that makes them wrong or bad. It just makes them different and I think the synergy of the best of our differences was a key element, leading to America’s greatness in the first place. Although we didn’t nurture the opportunity that the tragedy of 9/11 gave us to regain that quality, it doesn’t have to mean the opportunity is completely missed. One of the qualities that all of the current presidential candidates like to tout is their ability to lead. My prayer is that at least one of them will show the courage of their convictions and from this point forward, choose to lead by example in this regard.