Getting over 9/11
Several days ago I was reading about the proposed mosque to be built near the scene of the 9/11 attacks in New York. The nationally known newspaper had interviewed a number of persons and the opinions on the subject were varied. One, however, stood out to me.
Commenting on the opposition to putting the mosque near the attack site, one person, a young American woman, said something like this: “The 9/11 attacks were nine years ago. Isn’t it about time people got over this?”
Throughout the years, I have seen bumper stickers and t-shirts on sale in the South that depict a grizzled old Confederate soldier sporting a long grey beard and holding a musket and clutching a Rebel flag. With his teeth gritted and a steely glint in his eyes, the caption says, “Fergit, hell!”
Minus the musket and the flag, that was my response to the person urging Americans to “get over” Sept. 11, 2001.
My dad died 14 years ago last Thursday. I’m not fully over that yet. My mom followed some six years later. I’m not over that either.
A week or so ago my 15-year-old granddaughter interviewed me for a class she is taking. As she questioned me about my past, where I grew up, what lessons I had learned from my parents, and so on, I was flooded with memories.
As I remembered my childhood and youth and as I thought about my folks, my eyes became moist and I found it hard to speak. I still miss my parents.
It’s not so easy to “get over” a great loss. True, we have to “move on” but moving on and getting over are not the same.
In the case of 9/11, the perpetrator of the evil deeds, the mass murderer who took 3,000 lives, is still at large and is still planning additional mayhem.
Osama bin Laden has apparently outsmarted both the Bush and Obama administrations and remains free. There are still human remains from the attacks that have not yet been identified. The wound has not healed; the sore is still open, oozing, and raw.
“Get over it?” You must be kidding.
We are currently at war against a treacherous and devious foe. This enemy wantonly kills civilians, including children, by any means possible. No one is spared.
From hidden explosives along roadsides or in market places, to bombs detonated in houses of worship, to suicide bombers sent into crowds, to armed combat against soldiers and marines, the goal is to slaughter. Lest we forget, this implacable foe has beheaded civilian victims and has released the recordings of these horrendous deeds to the media.
I remember being at home writing an article when I received a call to turn on the television. The first tower had been struck by an airliner. While I was watching, the second plane hit the second tower. Then came news of the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93 in a field in Pennsylvania. By day’s end, the world had changed forever.
Get over it? My parent’s generation never quite “got over” Pearl Harbor. Would this young lady tell the victims of the Holocaust, Hitler’s “final solution,” to just “get over it”?
The nation has moved on. The families of the victims have moved on. New York City, the employees at the Pentagon have moved on. I would bet a week’s pay that few of them have “gotten over it.”
Christopher Rodgers, of Griffin, Ga., was 11 years old when he saw the newscasts on 9/11. He told his family that someday he would join the Marines and be on the front lines. A few days ago this little boy, now 20 years old, was killed in Afghanistan.
Lance Corporal Christopher Blake Rodgers, USMC, died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
“Get over” 9/11? Not while people are still dying and not while the evil men who planned the attack, and those who seek to do their bidding, are still at large. There are some tragedies you just can’t get over.
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. (www.ctkcec,org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and may be contacted at email@example.com.]