Monday, September 11, 2006

On 9/11: An ode to reality

On 9/11 America woke up in so many ways to a different reality. It became clear on that day that despite its success, America really isn't that far removed from the harsh realities many in the world face daily. I'm sure that was a pessimistic discovery to make. Before then, and several times since that moment America has been lauded as the greatest success of the human experiment. It must have been harrowing at best to discover that your lives are just vulnerable, just as terminable as those of us who live without the benefit of your technology or nuclear firepower. As you remember that ghastly day, I exhort you to remember the experiences not only for their negativity and how much they disrupted your way of life. Think also of how they brought you back to the things that matter most in life and concentrated you on those.

One of the surving fireman from the NYFD from that great calamity Antonios "Tony" Benetatos has suggested that the greatest test of human character isn't in the severity of circumastances faced, but in how one responds to those tough moments. As the world remembers, this is my ode to the reality that when all else fails you and I have you and I to count on; an alternative nugget to sift from the debris of that dark day.

In the billowing dust, the towering smoke, the piercing screams, and the harrowing sites from 9/11 America found this redemptive reality; that when all had been said and done, it was the basic notion of our mutual humanity that meant most to her people in their darkest hour. On that day, stripped of the lofty benefits of sophisticated technology and the perrenial deification of the individual a vacuum was created; one that could only be filled by the deeper notion that life could and should be different. In that dear friends, you found the most common, the most inspiring, and the most enduring bond that sets the human species apart from all everything else in this cosmos; the ability to dream and conceive an alternative to the status quo.

In that, you stepped into the very souls of the valiant individuals who led the Civil Rights Movement. That very moment brought you into concert with enduring cries for a better world that ring from Auschwitz to Waterloo in antiquity; and through Bhagdad, Beirut, Darfur, Mozambique, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa, and Zimbabwe in modern times. In all those places; at ground zero, but most importantly in each every human heart resides an inextinguishable flame of an alternative to reality. And at it's core is the ability only human beings posses to see beyond the visual.

As you rise like the Phoenix from the flames of your toughest test America, don't forget the reality that saw you through your darkest depression. Hold fast to that reality of the mutuality of our humanity America; for when all else fails you know you can always hang onto that hope that only humans are capable of producing. Remember my dear friends that even though the toughest gap to bridge spans from your mind to mine; the toughest bond to break break runs between your heart and mine. And that America, is my ode to reality.

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