Saturday, September 10, 2016
[1813 - Battle of Lake Erie, Commodore Perry
(Oliver Hazard Perry) defeats British squadron]
[1955 - Gunsmoke, the adult western, debuts on TV, begins a record 20-year series run]
On the eve of a grim anniversary we still seek the lesson of September 11. Our leaders make speeches and lay wreathes. The preachers discover a religious message in the rebuilt ruins of the disaster. The rest of us just struggle in the attempt to make sense of it all.
In the skyscraper arising from the wreckage of the twin Towers, in the rebuilt Pentagon, and in a charred field in Pennsylvania, we search for meaning. We seek an explanation. We hope for a lesson. None of the speeches, or prayers, or public ceremonies provide what we are looking for. The answer is simple. What we are looking for is not there. There is no lesson in 9/11.
There is no lesson in 9/11 just as there is no lesson in the Holocaust. These events, and the ones like them, are just that; events. They serve to illustrate the truth that human nature is virtually unchanged throughout the brief history of our race. We are now, we will be for some time, and we always have been capable of the most extreme cruelty to our own kind. This should come as no surprise. We are a race of survivors. Those among us who could not survive did not survive. Survival is their legacy.
Yet there is hope in the recognition of simple truths. Surely, the human capacity for good and kindness is no less than the human capacity for evil and cruelty. These are but different manifestations of the same primordial energy that lies within each of us. When that energy vibrates in one set of dimensions it produces all that we reckon as worthwhile in the human spirit; when the vibrations occur in the alternative set we have 9/11.
If only we could turn our attention from the war of revenge against those who committed 9/11, and anyone who looks or prays like them, we truly might learn something. If instead of limiting personal liberty, building walls around the country, spying or ratting on each other, and attempting to secure our transportation systems by confiscating hair gel, we returned to our core strengths as a nation, we would surely defeat the thugs who committed this crime.
William's Whimsical Words:
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Last updated on September 14, 2016