For you, today is what Pearl Harbor is to my generation – a historic event, horrible but experienced only in footage and statues and memorial speeches. For me and millions of other “old people,” this day is much more than that. It is very real. When I see footage from that terrifying day I can feel my pulse quicken. I can still feel the fear in the back of my throat; the confusion; the terror.
It. Is. Real.
On this day there will be many stories told – where we were, who we were with, what we were doing. Every American who was alive and cognizant that day has “a story” and it is still a common thread that runs through this diverse nation. I won’t bore you with mine. I’ve told it many times before and I’ll tell it again, I’m sure. I don’t want this to be a lengthy, maudlin account of one of the worst days in American history. There are plenty to read if you choose to find them.
So many complicated things came out of such a dreadful day, but there are a few simple lessons that you need to take away…that I need you to take away from this.
- There is Evil in this world. There are some people who will hate you simply because you exist; because you are free; because you dare to believe each man must seek his own path and make his own choices and bear his own consequences. It seems unbelievable to those of us who have the privilege of living in a place like America. But this place is special, and so are the people who live here. We beat back Evil with rights we know are endowed to us by God Himself. It is not like that everywhere. Almost nowhere.
- When you start letting fear make your choices, you’ve already given in to Evil. That is the goal of terrorism – to frighten you into staying home, keeping quiet. It chains your wrists and tells you you’re safer that way. Don’t ever let fear drive you away from freedom. It is better to die free, than to live in bondage – be it the mind or the body.
- Americans are brave…and good…and kind. Not all of us, of course. However, we as a society, as a whole community – despite what you see on news – are disposed to charity and good will. After 9/11, Americans from every corner of this country and around the globe, from every walk of life banded together and rushed to the aid of those in need. For a moment our racial strife and economic differences ceased to matter. We were there for each other. We mourned with each other. We cried out for justice together. No matter what you see and hear about how divided and cruel we are just know that when it truly needs to count, we are one people. We have proven this over and over again throughout history.
- This country is great. There are many weak-minded people who will try to convince you we are the problem in the world, but that is the mindset of a person who has never come face to face with true suffering. We have shame in our past and even in our present, but when there is trouble in the world and innocent people suffer we are the first to volunteer our most precious resource – our sons and daughters. The people who died that day, the people who battle sickness from being coated in the ruins of that day, the people who sacrificed their lives as they attempted to rescue the stranded – none of those people deserved to die that day. What happened on 9/11 was murder, not war.
- There are amazingly brave men and women in this country. So many people perished trying to rescue victims in the Pentagon and the Twin Towers. They had no other motives than to save who they could. Afterward, so many more from all across the nation poured into Washington D.C. and New York to give support. Thousands of young men and women joined the military, determined to do their part to ensure justice was served and nothing like this would happen on our soil again. They put you and me and everyone ahead of themselves. Look to those people and take this day as an occasion to think about what you’d be willing to sacrifice for those you love, and those you don’t know at all. Whatever your answer may be, never forget how those people answered on that day, and the days to follow.
- Some people can never be negotiated with. Going back to my first points, sometimes a situation can not be resolved with patience and kindness. Evil has no moderation. The terrorists who crashed those planes had no thought of compromise. Those that still wage their jihad across the globe aren’t just misunderstood misfits living in the shadow of an oppressive America. They are Evil. They sacrifice their own wives and children at the altar of Islam. Jesus said to love our enemies and that means that we must recognize every man is created by God but that does not mean every man chooses God. Some men choose Evil. Sometimes we just have to kill those people. Sometimes it’s just better that way.
Never forget what happened that day, even though you weren’t alive to experience the terror. Never think it can’t happen again. Never surrender your freedom for the “security” of thinking it could never happen again.
Most of all, never let the images and fear from that day make your heart grow cold. Have good judgment but don’t be judgmental. Be cautious but don’t be fearful. Be humble but don’t be weak.
Kira Davis is a writer, video blogger and homeschool mother of two. She has interviewed President Obama and appeared on Fox News, The BlazeTV and the Dr. Phil Show. Kira is a dog person but she owns a cat anyway. You can find her on Twitter @RealKiraDavis.
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