Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering the Dead, and the Living.


I grew up going to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade on weekends with my father, watching the twin towers rise slowly, one floor at a time over lower Manhattan, from the most beautiful and iconic vantage point on Earth. In hot or cold weather, under cloudy, sunny, or rainy skies, at dusk when the bright window-eyed skyscrapers flecked the river with gold, or on a chilly morning like today's in a bright, brisk wind. These images are framed in my mind as indelibly as the sight of my own hand, now, in front of my face.

Today I want to mourn the loss of these buildings and the thousands who died within them, alongside everyone who lost something - or everything - on that sad day nine years ago. But saddest of all, I want to mourn the loss of the American spirit of tolerance and civic pride, our love of humanity, our belief in the saving strength of our unique form of government, and our embrace of the people of the world who came to New York - and still come - looking for a decent waking life and a better dream for the future.

Today that dream is receding beneath the crushing ugliness of our new post-9/11 culture, the fearfulness that shuts our eyes, minds, and hearts, the re-emergence of the lynch mob as the quintessential group expression of freedom, and the utter failure of the moneyed media to back us away from the abyss and ask us to listen for the quiet voices, the better angels of our nature.

Please remember with me that Muslims also died in those attacks, and that Americans come in all shapes, sizes, cultures and customs. Please remember with me that we are all children of one earth, of one universe, and for those of religious faith, of one God.

I want us to be clean again, purged of hate and fear. I want more than anything for this to be a day to remember love, to feel love, to forgive, and to ask forgiveness.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Damn Illuminati Dave.

:(

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3719259008768610598#

Miguel C. said...

Lovely...but I don't know if we were clean before, perhaps just dirtier now than since the end of slavery...

Lisandra said...

...Amen. Hugs, Lisandra.

Jill said...

Wow - so beautifully written that I read it twice!

jkl