As we come to another anniversary of the horrific and barbaric attacks against innocent people on September 11, 2001 I urge us all to remember that the threats we faced before 9/11, on 9/11, and since that fateful day are in many ways the same threats.
Whether it’s the ideologies of Al Qaeda as it was on 9/11, the ideologies of the anti-government movement in 1995 when the Murrah Federal Building was bombed, or in recent years as white supremacists and neo-nazis commit mass casualty attacks on our communities in America and across the world, the common thread is hate for those they see as “them” and violence in “defense” of those they see as “us.”
Hate can be a deadly motivation.
Thanks to the men and women who serve in law enforcement and in our national security services we have not had to suffer again like we did on 4/19 or 9/11. Their efforts go largely unrecognized, but I’ve seen the commitment they bring to this fight. I am honored to call some of these men and women my friends.
On this day and every day we owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women who are our first responders – the ones who rushed into guaranteed death with no care for their own safety on 9/11 – and many others who do the same in our local communities. I know some folks who say “hey, that’s the career they chose so why do we owe them anything?” I don’t agree. The people I know and the people I’ve worked with in law enforcement, the military, and as first responders chose those careers because they wanted to protect others. They are truly guardians.
There are some in our communities who cannot see what I see because they are angry. Their anger is aimed at people who commit crimes under the color of law and who are often not held accountable. That anger is justified, but left unchecked it blinds people into stereotyping.
Anger can be a corrosive emotion. It allows people to engage in behaviors that we otherwise condemn when it’s directed at us or those whom we love.
In my faith there is a belief that we must stand for justice even if that means standing against our loved ones or even ourselves. I take that to mean that justice must transcend self-interest and tribalism.
On 9/11/19 I will say a prayer for the thousands of victims and all the first responders who died and those who have struggled with horrible illnesses since. I will pray for peace and for understanding too.
Once I’m done praying, I’ll get back to work. Prayer is a wonderful thing, but I also believe that God expects me to do my part bring about whatever it is I’m praying for.