Government Leaders: Profiles of Courage and Responsibilitygreenspun.com : LUSENET : Heroes of September: Profiles of Courage and Responsibility Following the Attack on America : One Thread
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-- MB (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 14, 2001
Strange isn't it? The sights, the sounds, the nightmarish visions assaulting our senses by the hour... in Technicolor, with not a moment spared of gruesome commentary. How did we get here? How did we Americans come to be in this place, at this time and under these circumstances? Where do we lay the blame and who do we hold accountable? Where do we go to get an explanation? Will full retribution truly be enough? Can it ever be? Has the term, "I am an American" been forever changed? Will we ever forget where we were and what we were doing when we were so forcefully brought back to reality by the somber voices of Rather, Brokow and Jennings? I suppose these questions are more rhetorical than any real attempt to understand the incomprehensible images my mind has been subjected to over these last few days.
Actually, I have attempted to come to some understanding, although with very little success. Consequently, I have drawn numerous conclusions that are much less than satisfactory but they have, somehow, allowed me to reach a point of personal comfort, a place deep within the synaptic maze of my mind where common sense and logic need not apply. I am safe there... no conflict exist there... no hatreds are born there... and vengeance, thank God Almighty, cannot take root there.
We Americans are a curious lot. While our principles are relatively simple, our people are immensely complex. We are but a broad blend of almost every culture that occupies this planet, yet we are unique in our existence as a people. A nation of differences with intermingled traditions rigidly united behind a simple principle... liberty. It is a brilliant concept, no less awesome today than the very moment of its conception... a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
In the passing hours of this tragedy, like countless Americans, my family experienced any number of fleeting emotions. Fear, I hasten to say, was not among them. My personal confidence in my government's ability to respond quickly and with resolve was boundless and steadfast. Our President was protected. We may not have voted for him but he belongs to me and I wanted him out of harms way. Ironically, the only tinge of fear was the element of dread I felt for the possibility that one or more of the engaged military pilots who may be compelled to destroy an airliner in order to prevent yet another tragic strike. What a horrible instruction to issue to a pilot, what a horrible decision to comply! I am grateful it became unnecessary but profoundly appreciative for those with the courage to assume the responsibility.
For me, the emotion most difficult to bear was the palpable, all consuming rage. It was an uncontrollable frenzy of blind fury bound tightly in a deeply passionate hatred for mankind's madness and folly. It was a righteous, indignant wrath overcome only by the love and understanding of my family. As I slowly began to recover my senses and return to my sorrow and grief, I could not help but recall the words of an earlier President spoken at his inaugural address on January 20, 1960 when I was but thirteen years old.
"Let every nation know... whether it wishes us well or ill... we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This much we pledge... and more." John F. Kennedy, President of the United States of America.
In the days following this senseless tragedy, my President, George W. Bush, has spoken eloquently, resolutely and with a dignity that is uniquely American. In each and every utterance, the words, the meaning and the resolve of the American people have been fully consistent with those spoken by John F. Kennedy more than forty years ago. I am deeply appreciative of my country and all her people. I have not lived a single day as an American citizen when I have felt a greater pride in my President, my Country and her remarkable people than I do at this moment in my life. Today, there is no greater boast than to say...
"I am a citizen of The United States Of America."
-- Tis (email@example.com), September 16, 2001.