I am not really sure what to say about the tenth anniversary of our nations attack. I have been grumpy all day. I am not fit company. I have not wanted to see those ghastly pictures of buildings that were mortally wounded. They are already burned into my memory deeply enough. I have not desired to take part in any services or memorials. Not because I don't think it's important, but because it still feels so raw and personal. I had a hard time holding back tears at Mass this morning though I managed to. Mostly I want it to be over, and behind me. I am annoyed that this day keeps coming up year after year and evoking the same emotions from me. I want to be over it and yet, I never am.
Always the optimist, I do need to mention that there is something I remember, that stands out above all the rest for its goodness. Namely New Yorkers. (And yes I do realize other people who were also attacked that day were good too, but allow me to have a bit of hometown pride- at least temporarily) For all the endless years that New Yorkers were singled out for our bad attitudes and cold, brusque ways, what became obvious for all the world to see on that fateful day was the deep goodness New Yorkers have at their core.
The self sacrifice, and spirit that lit up the T.V. screens all over our nation for days at the epicenter of the attack, focused on a heroic, and proud people. A people who were willing to give all on a moments notice. A people who were caught off guard, but were not unprepared in spirit. A people whose brave men and women ran into burning buildings while others were running out. Who would ever have believed we had a whole city full of Cool Hand Lukes?
An English acquaintance I once knew commented in a rather snobbish fashion how there was a toughness to Americans that must have come form the "rugged Winters" that they never got out of their system.
It was meant as an insult, but I took it as a compliment. It was never more clearly displayed as those days following September the eleventh. Those rugged Winters she was referring to -the ones spent at Valley Forge while we fought to the death for our freedom did mold us as a nation. It taught us that there were indeed, some things worth fighting for. It turned boys into men and brought about a fierce, defiant, and passionate spirit. That spirit was awakened on 9/11. Particularly in New York. While I would not wish that cowardly attack on my worst enemy, I am grateful it happened in New York. Grateful, because I think New Yorkers were the best equipped people to handle such a catastrophe. They didn't let it paralyze them. They carried on despite all. They may not have healed, they may never heal, but they let the pain propel them serve as a reminder of the great price of freedom.
For all those wonderful and awful things- I love New York. May God Bless each and every one of us tonight.