We Slept Through our Wakeup Call

Two days ago there was all kinds of coverage about our greatest national tragedy.  We got to see replays of the news coverage.  We got to see replays of the speeches made from people great and small about what happened.  Politicians ran out with hard hats and shovels trying to look busy.  Ordinary people rose up to help our fellow man.  The truest heroes in our life time ran into a towering inferno, knowing they wouldn’t return, because it was their duty.  Christ said to us “No greater love hath a man, they he should lay down his life for his brother”.  That being true, heaven got a good bit fuller that day.

When we are children, we often have trouble picturing that there is evil in the world.  To us, a bad man is someone who pushes you in the dirt and takes your milk money.  A child assumes that all people are as innocent and pure as they are.  That’s why you tell your kids not to get in cars with strangers.  They have no concept that person will hurt them.  It is often a tragic event in our lives that opens our eyes to the understanding that life is finite and evil exists in this world.  Someone we know and love will pass away, or we will be hurt by someone and our eyes will be opened to the world.

On 9-11-01, my entire generation was given that shock.  3000 innocent people were murdered in cold blood by true evil on this earth.  We saw the great towers of our nation falling in fire to ruin.  The blood of innocents was reaped with the very product of our own ingenuity.  We were denigrated and violated as a nation in every way possible.  We were given the soul-shaking opportunity to grow up as a nation.  The morning alarm was blaring after a long innocent slumber … and we pushed the snooze button and went back to sleep.

What is 9-11 for us now except on the anniversary?  It’s a reason you take your shoes off at the airport.  It’s the reason everyone in America knows who Mohammed is and what a Mosque is.  The word Jihad has crept into our language.  We don’t even remember that the reason our young men and women are bleeding and dying in the Sandbox is to place themselves between our homes and those who would give everything to slaughter us.

For just a moment, God removed his wall of thorns from our country, and allowed evil to touch us.  He wanted us to see the dangers around us and wake up.  He wanted to use this moment to lift our eyes to a higher purpose.  He wanted us to know that our lives on this earth are fleeting, and that we should grow up and make the most of them.

We didn’t.

When the towers fell I was 17, I am now 27.  My generation has pissed away our defining moment.  We had 10 years to do something, and we ignored the chance.  My grand parents generation saw Kennedy get shot and put a man on the moon.  My great grand parents saw Pearl Harbor and freed the world from fascism.  150 years ago our ancestors saw Fort Sumter and bled themselves white to preserve this union.  People no older than we are now have literally changed the course of the world.  What have we done?

9-11 isn’t about politics or wearing the flag.  It’s not about jingoism, patriotism, capitalism or anything else.  It’s about growing up.  An adult uses times of crisis to grow and define who they want to be.  Looking at us with that track record we have failed.  So on this day, and every other, don’t think about where and what you were when this happened.  Adults don’t huddle in fear and mourning waiting for another event to force them into action.  Adults stride forward to seize the future with both hands.  Its time to be an adult.

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