Carol Jane Remsburg
It's been just two days since the September 11th terrorist attack on the United States. Americans are amid the throes of shock, anger, and mourning. Even for some of us there is still that trace of denial when the tragedy sneaks back into our thoughts catching us unaware in a moment of mundane toil and scares us all over again.
This world we share with others rests not easy for there has always been war and catastrophes. Each day breaks with sorrow over a sudden accident or assault that snuffs out a loved one. As surely as night follows day, we shed tears while our hearts grow ever heavier. From the small scale to the large, death will always be with us. Not just for Americans but for all of the world.
Illness and age take their toll and often we accept the price as it comes due. That is the normal progression of life. Even the sudden accidents, heart-rending as they can be, we will accept over time. Yet the large-scale horror of the terrorist aggression—YES, an act of war, as happened on Tuesday morning September 11th, 2001, has driven complacency and acceptance from our minds and hearts.
Americans have been labeled the "busybodies" of the world. We stick our noses into everyone else's business and try to get everyone to play "nice" together. When bad things happen elsewhere, it's the Americans who air lift donations and money to help others recover. When others haven't played by the rules, we step in and smack their hands. Sometimes we've done more than that. Even then, it has been with a hesitant hand.
America has long been the Mecca. America is the golden land of promise. Within our borders there is a place for every race, creed, religion, nationality, gender, and sexual preference. And by and large, we as a nation try to accommodate all. At times we even go to extremes in accommodation with excessive "politically correct" verbiage for everything.
There are a few nations who feel we are a joke—a bad one. They laugh at us and label us weak. What those others do not realize is that we are a nation that has idled along in contentment. What they do not know or have forgotten is when that engine called "America" or the "United States" begins to rev up it's engine that petty internal squabbles are swept aside like so much confetti in a ticker-tape parade.
Suddenly we are no longer just "Caucasians," "African-Americans," "Spanish-Americans," "Native-Americans," of "German, Irish, Polish, Russian, Danish, French, or Lithuanian descent," or "of" about a thousand others. No, we become who we are in our hearts—Americans! There is no prouder or stronger people than we, we of our melting pot history.
Americans are at first glance a whiny bunch. We're worried about what lunch take-out we can order and if it will be late. We'll whine over the latest movie that bombed at the box-office and complain over the wasted ticket price. We'll groan over our mortgage or rent payments. We'll complain that our kids "fill-in-the-blank-here." And, we'll cry over sluggish internet connection. Yet Americans will be first in line to give and to do without in order to help total strangers. Our steely spine is rarely apparent until the outer wrappings of our comfort are stripped away. Americans never blink in the face of the awful. Americans get busy instead.
In the wake of Tuesday, Americans are still struggling. We do this by working. Whether as a part of the emergency support teams, our jobs if they impact the running of the nation in commerce, communications, defense, or something else, we all are joining together as a team. When we aren't working our jobs, we are providing support to our fellows as a bolster, delivering foods and necessities, and donating blood.
Americans are joining together across this beautiful land of ours. And while we may be mourning, we are not weak. All of us know this affront and threat will not go unpunished. Perhaps the retribution to those that committed these crimes will live in the memories of those others who consider following in their footsteps. There is a price for acts of terrorism and hate crimes and it certainly isn't a sure ticket into paradise—I don't care what their "book" says. Hell yawns deep in wait for them.
The outpouring of care and support from other nations has been wonderful to see. It's heartwarming and supportive. Yet, America will stand on her own as she always has.
As the sun faded from today over my small piece of America, the late summer crickets and balmy air were soothing. It gave lie to the suffering across this nation. These night sounds give solace to the restless. Come tomorrow we will face the world anew. We will be stronger, more resolved, and still a nation that gives—this time to her own.
Let us stand tall together. Join hands and let our efforts count. America is not only beautiful, but she is brave because we make her so.