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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Moment We Remember

Every generation has that one event, that singular happening. That seminal moment during which time stops, the world stops spinning, and people everywhere take stock of their lives. After they call home to make sure everyone is all right. For my mother's generation, that moment was the Kennedy assassination. To this day, she can tell you exactly where she was, what she was doing, at the moment she heard the news. For previous generations it was events such as D-Day, Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Titanic, or the assassination of Lincoln.

At the age of 22, I really thought my "seminal" event was the Challenger explosion. I remember watching the screen go white on the little tv on the wobbly-wheeled av cart in my first grade classroom. I remember my teacher crying at the back of the classroom. I remember the next week watching Ronald Reagan speak brave, kind words about the astronauts who lost their lives and the America that would celebrate their lives and give their deaths meaning by continuing their mission.

On September 11, 2001, I woke up a few minutes before 8am CST. I turned on the tv, knowing I didn't have to be at work that day until 11:30am. I recognized the New York skyline immediately. Smoke was billowing up from one of the Twin Towers. The sound was a confusion of sirens and screams and car horns. 

"Wow. This movie SUCKS," I said to myself, noticing the TNT logo near the bottom of the tv screen. I changed the channel to TBS, and was immediately dismayed. What were the odds that two independent cable stations would simultaneously play the same bad movie? My stomach leapt into my throat as I changed the channel to CNN. The second plane crashed. And I reached for my phone to call my mother.

Today, as we think about those who died that day twelve years ago, with heavy hearts we must add the four who died last year in Benghazi. We must also realize that there is no Reagan to tell us that the mission will continue. There is no George W. Bush to remind us that the voices of Americans will be heard.

There is only an Administration of puppets and puppeteers pointing fingers in between spades games and rounds of golf.

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