Where This Meets That
On the evening of September 10, 2001, I began a journal for my two-year-old firstborn son Aidan. The first page began, “Dear Aidan, I don’t know exactly what this journal will be . . ..”
The next morning while at work, I received an email from my sister saying that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. Details were sketchy but were all too quickly realized as the second plane hit and the horrors grew.
Just like that, my aimless journal for my son seemed like something more.
When I got home, all the ambulances and fire trucks on television were captivating Aidan. I began my second entry to the little boy watching the flashing lights on the TV: “Today I wished I could be you, young – too young to understand the terror that occurred today . . ..”
At the same time, my wife was carrying our unborn, nameless baby girl, due in November. There amid the ashy, angry, and uncertain backdrop of a terrible war looming and certain, we carried in our family the innocence and hope that only new life can bring.
When Madeleine was born, we gave her Hope as her middle name. That’s what she was at our small end of the vast, violent world.
In subsequent months and years, of course, our nation ventured into a murky tug-of-war between bloodlust and justice. Post-9/11 America was forced to reconsider its role in the world.
Americans pondered whether a free nation could truly be secure. Christians wrestled to reconcile the hole in their collective hearts with their lord’s call to unceasing forgiveness and love of enemies. Economists struggled to calculate exactly where the free market became “too free” and thus needed their intervention.
And so on.
Our American lifeblood flows through discord, but for a fragile time after 9/11, we were united in a beautiful and profound way. With Sunday night’s news of Osama bin Laden’s death, I felt that unity renewed.
Of course, those thousands of our world’s mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons killed on 9/11 won’t come clambering back up from Ground Zero or Shanksville or D.C. based on the news. Still, after a perilous decade in U.S. and world history, I finally feel a sense of justice done; a wrong has been righted.
It won’t last. Whispers of conspiracy are growing voices, and pointing fingers are growing accusatory.
But for today, we’re all Americans again.