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The best of America
Twenty years ago, our world was changed forever. On Sept. 11, 2001, most of us witnessed an act of cowardice and terror that has left generations searching for answers, answers that many are still looking for. The courage and commitment of our military and their families has been tested time and time again since that fateful day and the resilience of our warriors has been on display. Through it all we have seen the best of what this nation has to offer through the service of the men and women who stood up to the challenge and led when others would not. Now is the time to listen.
Listen to those who have served, not just in the last 20 years, but for all conflicts where the bravest of the nation have answered the call of service when asked to step up. People should open their ears and listen, there are many stories to be told. Some of great valor and sacrifice, and some of terror and dismay. All the stories need to be heard, we owe it to all of the veterans who struggle with the impacts of war trauma during the darkest hours of the night and when they wake every morning. People should reach out to their friends and family members that have been touched by military service… and listen.
Our nation remains grateful for the security we have lived under since that fateful day. Our call to action is to redouble our efforts to support our military, veterans, their families, and the families of the fallen. The needs of this most cherished population are not going away but will continue to evolve, as new challenges emerge impacting those exposed to the vileness of armed conflict.
U.S. Marine Corps
Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services
Continue the caring and resolve shown after 9/11
The mere phrase, “9/11”, instantly hits us in a way that we will, perhaps, never forget. That phrase and all that it intends impacts even those who are too young to have experienced that terrible day.
For those of us old enough to remember the shock and horror of the terrorist attack, there will always be an indelible memory of the twin towers coming down – preceded by innocent victims choosing between being burned alive and jumping out of windows to their certain death. Unimaginable, but it happened.
However, following these attacks there was a national reaction that the terrorist ghouls could have never foreseen. The attackers didn’t “win.” Instead they set off a determination and resolve to first of all punish them, followed by an iron will to rebuild and restore American normalcy. And there was a second reaction that was equal in force and commitment: caring. In fact this reaction continues to this very day.
We honored the first responders who rushed into, not away, from the stricken towers. We honored hundreds of heroic folk trapped in fire and fury who stopped to help their fallen colleagues. We also remember the bold and compassionate caring of our leaders who, calmly but resolutely, responded with a clarity of purpose in restoring normalcy, but also attending to the visceral sadness of all of us. Rudy Giuliani instantly became “America’s mayor” in his leadership of his beloved New York, and President George W. Bush, standing on the rubble of the towers with heroic firemen, was Reaganesque in the role of consoler-in-chief. Caring.
As we mark the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, I pray that this anniversary recognition will continue to honor both caring and the indomitable resolve to thrive in the unfettered freedom of the American way of life.
Honoring the peacemakers
As the sad anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, it is important to reflect on voices calling for nonviolent responses to our grief and anger. These voices, while many, are still not heard enough in the midst of debates about the ensuing 20-year war in Afghanistan.
As President George W. Bush led us into the 20-year war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq on false pretense, concerned citizens saw through the deception in a way the supposed experts and our congressional representatives (with the exception of Rep. Barbara Lee) did not.
For years, people continued to call for an end to the wars that were killing our troops and innocent civilians, fueling more terrorism, and draining the dollars needed for services here at home. There were vigils, fasts, visits and calls to congressional offices, marches and demonstrations, buses to Washington, D.C, and acts of civil disobedience. Some went to jail for their convictions.
Twenty years later, the “War is not the Answer” bumper sticker seems tragically prophetic. Once again, those who participated in the multifaceted movements and actions for peace and justice, hear the echo of Pete Seeger singing, ”Where Have All the Flowers Gone? … When will they ever learn?”
All (masked and distanced) are invited to an Honoring the Peacemakers event at Bangor’s Peirce Park at 11 a.m. on Sept. 11 to affirm the many ways peace-loving citizens keep working together for nonviolent solutions to systemic injustice and inequality and for the future of life on our Earth.
Former program coordinator
Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine