Thursday, September 9, 2010

That Day

Dies illa, Dies irae, Calamitatis et miseriae” (That day, day of wrath, calamity and suffering...) Gabriel Faure, Requiem.

This morning, I raised the American flag over my small suburban lot and said a prayer of remembrance. It is 9/11. It is time to remember, and in my memory, September 11, 2001 remains as vivid as yesterday.

On that day, I was at work in the Pentagon. At 9:38 am, I was less than 200 feet from where the right engine of American Airlines Flight 77 tore through C ring before coming to rest against the wall across A-E drive. I smelled the smoke. I saw the fire. I stepped over debris as I exited the building. Outside, I watched as the victims were cared for.

When I learned that what I had experienced was the result of a deliberate act, I was enraged. I remain so. I am enraged that my country was attacked in the name of 'a religion of peace'. Neither terror nor mass murder can ever be part of any rational definition of peace, nor can they ever.

I am enraged.

I am enraged that it took less than six weeks for our elected representatives to start speaking of compromise and negotiation rather than retaliation against those whose sole objective is to obliterate us as a nation. We negotiate. We compromise. We appease. We accommodate. They want to kill us.

I am enraged!

I am enraged that no one in the Islamic world has come forward to condemn these acts of murder for what they are. It's been nine years.

I am enraged!

I am enraged that so many of our priests, ministers, and bishops have joined our pettifogging Congress in blaming us, the victims, for this unprovoked attack. Pale comfort, that.

I am enraged!

I am enraged that even today, we are letting ourselves to be bullied into building a shrine to the religion whose teachings led to the despicable acts of 9/11 at the site of one of those attacks.

I am enraged!

And I am enraged that we cringe so much in fear of the Islamic world that we refuse to advance our rights as a free people living in a free nation. Giving in to bullying is the moral equivalent of “paying protection” in Chicago and only benefits the bullies.

I am enraged.

Everything I ever needed to know about Islam, I learned on 9/11 in the Pentagon. Nothing since then has changed my mind.

And I am enraged!