Everybody knows this Saturday’s the 20th Anniversary of 9/11. The greatest tragedy ever to strike our country. Literally, the crime of the century right here on our own soil! Right here in our front yard.
This generation’s Pearl Harbor. Not some distant island paradise—a fuel stop in the Pacific ocean. Hawaii wasn’t even a state yet. It was outrageous! A totally unprovoked attack with tragic American casualties. And, the United States—who wasn’t ever gonna do it again—the United States entered World War II.
But, 9/11? This time it is different, isn’t it? Mainland America has been attacked and now we’re fighting a whole different kind of war. Half-way around the world and right here at home.
Some of those terrorists did flight training in my home state of Oklahoma! Are you kidding me?
Everybody remembers where they were, what they were doing, who they were with and how they reacted on that Tuesday morning. Everybody is still stung, still grieving for those we lost. Everybody here knows somebody, has some connection.
Not gonna lie—time has helped and I’m trying, but I’m still bitter about it. Still struggling and maybe you are too! It’s frustrating!
It’s not just the tremendous loss of life that day. The innocence of the victims, the crews and passengers on the planes, the World Trade Center, The Pentagon, Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The first responders trying to get people out unaware the buildings were going to collapse. It still breaks my heart every time I hear Bruce Springsteen “The Rising.”
So, we’re finally out of Afghanistan—with even more casualties of the seemingly endless “war on terror” that really went nowhere. The pull out was never going to be easy or smooth, no matter what. It just underscores the high price that our soldiers and their families paid—for what?
It breaks my heart! Sadaam Hussein is gone. Do you feel safer? We got Osama Bin Laden. Do you feel safer? We tortured prisoners at Guantanamo Bay! Do you feel safer? We instituted travel bans on Muslims. Do you feel safer? We built more walls on the southern border. Do you feel safer?
20 years ago, this country came together. We were really the United States, right? United States of America! But, not anymore!
9/11 and the fall-out, racism, the pandemic, and polarizing politics have split us apart. It runs so much deeper than party lines—the chasms—and there are many. We can’t even come together and fight the pandemic together.
C’mon! It’s been 20 years now—and the divide has never been wider. How do we move forward?
I’ve always been a big Eagles fan—you know, Don Henley is a great songwriter. And one of his songs is called the Heart of the Matter.
As I sit and ruminate on 9/11 and everything since, that song just keeps running through my head over and over. I can’t get it out. It’s about lost love and damaged relationships. But these words ring so true:
I'm learning to live without you now But I miss you sometimes The more I know, the less I understand All the things I thought I knew, I'm learning again I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter But my will gets weak And my thoughts seem to scatter These times are so uncertain There's a yearning undefined ...People filled with rage We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age? The trust and self-assurance that can lead to happiness They're the very things we kill, I guess Better put it all behind you; life goes on… You keep carryin' that anger, it'll eat you up inside I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter But everything changes And my friends seem to scatter But I think it's about forgiveness Forgiveness Even if, even if you don't love me anymore.
Forgiveness. That’s how we move forward. As hard as that is. Don Henley is right. Gotta put it all behind. If we keep carrying this anger, it’s eating us up—from the inside out. It will destroy us.
So I’m trying—still. And I pray that you are, too. Grace & Peace, Scott