Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where you were then? Where are you now?

I had a loose sock hanging from my ankle, and I was wearing a bathrobe, when a friend of a friend came into our apartment and told us what was happening.  Remember, it wasn't just one thing, first there was one plane, then another plane, and we watched people jump, and then the towers came down. But before they did there was this empty terror, this feeling of hopelessness that these people, our people could do nothing.

Then that whole day, we all wandered about trying to do something, I remember everyone at my work wandered over to the Hospital to donate blood. Blood that wouldn't go to anyone in New York, blood that probably went to new infants and victims of motorcycle accidents. But we had to do something. So we gave our blood, even if in small, measured amounts.  In the next days people sent donations via text messaging, and built impromptu memorials. And for a few days it seemed like we all shared something, we were a grieving nation and we mourned together. I didn't know a single soul in those airplanes, or any of those buildings, yet it was my family that was hurting.

When Nathan Hale said "I regret that I have but one life to give to my country" at his execution, it was September, The Declaration of Independence had been signed a mere 2 months earlier, and there wasn't even a constitution to defend (that would come almost 11 years later). But he was willing to fight, then die for a belief in a country, a nation, but really for an idea for a land better than what it was before.

So today, I wonder, what am I willing to give to my country. Am I only brave enough to argue in snippets from the safety of my home and office. Am I content that my prior service is enough. Those people in the towers didn't give their lives, it was taken. But there were a few in at least one of the planes, who fought, who worked together. People who didn't take polls or point fingers, they just moved in the only way they saw to protect others. They didn't even know whom they were protecting,

And in that one moment they did more for the security of our nation than all of the dollars spent on the  TSA in the last ten years. They showed us that without weapons, there are few forces as powerful as a handful of Americans united in a goal.

So today, I will spend a few minutes and think about what I can do. What little bit of blood I can give.
What we could do together, to make this country a little bit better. I think it is amazing for those who work for one candidate or another, who sacrifice tirelessly for a cause. I even like the passion of those who vehemently post on Facebook, but I hope we can remember that  if we want to build something greater, or save a country in peril, we need these fellow passengers on this plane. After all, aren't they who we are giving our life for?