Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How I Pay Homage to 9/11

Twelve years ago today, the largest and most deadly attack on our nation happened when Islamic terrorists used airplanes to destroy the World Trade Center in New York. That was a horrible day, perhaps the most horrible day of my life, and I've been forever changed by, not only the events that happened that day, but what's happened to our country in the intervening twelve years.

On that horrible day, the soul of our country was changed. We became fearful, distrustful of our friends and neighbors, and willing to accept things done in our name and in the name of 'protecting' us, that we probably wouldn't have accepted only a single day before.  We've seen our country become one where it's alright to swap a little freedom for some vague idea of safety and we're just about willing to accept anything in order to be assured, something nobody can really do, that we won't be attacked again.

I believe this betrays the spirit of 9/11.  For the last decade, we've been told by our government that we were attacked 'because of our freedom' and, yet, the answer to those attacks seems to be to do exactly what the attackers supposedly want: reduce freedom. It makes no sense for a free people to become less free in response to a supposed direct attack on their freedoms. It's contridictory and confusing to think that way.

So I choose not to think that way. I choose to honor the lives of those lost on 9/11 by embracing my freedom and committing to fighting those, from both inside and outside my country, who stand in its way.  I will not gnash my teeth and rent my clothing and scream and cry about how scared I am. I will not judge or fear my neighbor because of his religion or ethnicity or the color of his skin. I will not give up my liberty just for the illusion of security.

And I hope you won't either.

The best way to pay homage to those who died in the attack is to commit to living a life so free that your very existence is an insult to those who hate freedom - no matter where they come from. It's refusing to trade that liberty for any cost and not living your life in fear. It's about living your life to its fullest and to embrace liberty with a wild abandon that would make those who died proud. To me, that is what 9/11 represents. And that is how I choose to honor it.

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