Today will always be a special day in my life. In everyone's life there are transformational moments, events that put a new perspective on all that we know. For some of us it is the birth of our first child. That is true with me. For some it is graduation day, or their Bar Mitzvah, or their wedding day.
These are the days of our lives that change our paradigm.
September 11, 2001 is a day I can't forget, as much as I would like to. It isn't a day I want to celebrate, to make music about or to send out greeting cards over. September 11 will always be seared into my mind as the most horrific day I have experienced in my lifetime. That may sound naive to many people.Fighting in a war, or have witnessed a murder or suffered the loss of a young child would be devastating. I have not had such circumstance, so I can't speak to any of those kinds of tremendous emotional nightmares.
Not only did my world change on that September morning, I believe the whole world shifted on it's axis. A subtle but transformative shift occurred in both the geopolitical and financial centers of the world, and to a great degree, it changed the trajectory of many of the forgotten corners of the world, too. Places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Syria.
I remember saying to my kids, who were slow to come to the TV that morning, "You need to watch this! This may be the most incredible historical event in our lives!" I knew instinctively that this was going to be similar to the attack on Pearl Harbor, 'a date which will live in infamy' as then President Roosevelt said.
As the twin tower buildings shuddered, as people jumped to their deaths to avoid the torture of fire, as the firemen went up, and finally as the buildings came down, my heart sank. This was, in my lifetime, the first time I had witnessed my country lose. It lost its iconic image of invincibility, of towering strength and world leadership. It was like watching my dad cry. It hurt me to the core.
Two days later, when President Bush stood on the flattened roof of a New York City fire truck amongst the ruins of the fallen Trade Center and spoke to the tired and heroic first responders, he used a bullhorn to give his speech of appreciation. Struggling to get the horn to work, the crowd yelled "We can't hear you!"
The President wrapped his arm around a tired and weary firefighter, pulled the bullhorn up to his mouth and said, boldly, " the people that knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!"
Boy, did I, and I am sure all of those guys and for that matter, all of the civilized world, need to hear that! I could breath again! And for the next few years, we Americans started to pull our damaged egos out of the ashes. We started to remember what our role in the world was. We mourned those that were so savagely and undeservedly murdered that day, and we reached out to support our brothers and sisters who lost loved ones too. And it moved us to see most of the world join hands with us.
I didn't matter, at that point, that there were a few crazies who reveled in our losses. We dismissed them as nutcases.
Now here we are 14 years later....it hurts again when I see the replays of the Twin Towers.
But what really hurts is the way we, as a nation, have lost our way. How the growing number of nutcases are actually given credibility by many in the media, and even worse, by academia.
How our emotional bonds have torn, our sense of pride and brothership has deteriorated. How the world has descended into chaos, and America, and unfortunately a large number of our fellow citizens, have abdicated our leadership role.
I feel like my dad, God Bless his soul, is crying in his grave.