On the train to the city… the same thing I was doing 16 years ago. We just arrived at Suisun Station. This is where I got off and waited for two or so hours while they inspected all the trains to ensure they were safe. I made it home just in time to watch the first tower fall.
Until Brian called me to tell me what was going on, I didn’t know. My dad had called and left me a voicemail early in the morning telling me he loved me and hoping I was okay. He never called me that early, and I thought maybe he was sick since it was so out of place.
While driving my kids to school today, we talked about it. We talked about how terrorists seek to incite terror and hurt, maim, and kill people as a means to their end – but that any endeavor that can only be accomplished through acts of, terror, intolerance, or inhumane cruelty cannot be righteous in intent. I told them that those 19 men with box-cutters and a bankrupt ideology were willing to give their lives to hurt us and to instill fear, and in some ways, they accomplished that goal.
I think it would be easy to look at politics, the ongoing wars, climate events, and the other noise and wonder if the world is better… but I think we’ve all risen up quite a bit and may not notice how much higher our collective tide is. The fight isn’t over but marriage equality is real. The fight isn’t over but social and racial injustice aren’t things being whispered about at brunches and barber shops. The fight isn’t over but the conversations we’re all having, every day, are about how we all can be better, more united, more fair, more just, more equal, more loved, and continue to move forward and progress as a people.
In that context, sixteen years after it rained stone, steel, and blood onto the streets of Manhattan, while division remains, I feel very confident that what they endeavored to ultimately accomplish that day failed. They sought prolonged fear, they achieved prolonged resolve. They sought to maim us, but only left the shadow of a faint scar.
It’s sometimes difficult for me to bifurcate patriotic pride from inane tribalism – but just taking a moment to think about that day sixteen years ago – and think about those that ran into the buildings… and those that drove into the storm last week… and those driving into the storm today, all to grab the hand of those that need help because those people are *our* people… those are the days where I’m proudest to be an American.