It's been a while since I've posted anything so I was scouring my catalog for inspiration. I came across a . . . well, a note really, I'd written a week after the attack on the United States by state-sponsored terrorists some twenty-one years ago. Instead of using it as motivation for another work, I've decided to post the original document. Thank all of you for indulging my observations.

A Week After September 11, 1991

Page One

September 18, 2001

A shroud of sadness has settled around me like a yoke, heavy and unyielding. It gathered as I witnessed passenger planes disappear into clouds of fire at the edges of glass and steel tearing at the fabric of American wealth and might. These seven days later I’ve been unable to be freed from it. It seems with me always. I feel it at day's end, and with morning’s dawn. What feels crushing is certainly not the weight of steel and concrete, but there is something.

I’ve thought it might be the magnitude. There are so many gone. If that is it, where were similar weights for those gone before? The slaughters in Africa, Cambodia. Others lost in atrocities that scar the globe like scabs from smallpox. Did they not reach me?

I’ve thought it might be our affinity. Yet, I lost no loved ones, no friends, no colleagues.

I’ve thought it might simply be the extinguishment of all the innocent. That seems unlikely, I’ve known both death and destruction. I am orphaned. I’ve known the pain of loss. This too is inadequate explanation for my sadness.

I’ve thought it might be the proximity to evil. Yet, I believe that God knows not evil. With that belief, I have in the past found comfort.

. . .

Page Two

It has finally come to me, the source of this crushing weight, its consequent sadness. I am American. Therefore, I am special. I am safe from foreign trespass. God is on my side in all things where sides need be chosen. My pledge to the flag vests unto me absolute protection against tyranny, terror, and injustice. This is the genius of our founding fathers and constitutional government. I am all this de jure and if not that, then certainly de facto. I know this because I've been inculcated with these declarations by my culture, my education, and my government for these fifty years past.

That weight I feel is the confluence of foreigh policy treachery, American hubris, decades of lies, and finally, hijacked passenger jets. I now know I am none of those things.

Notwithstanding the intellectual distance I stand from this American Religion, my emotional proximity to this scripture is child-like. How rational beings can lose themselves to the emotion of religion is now much less a mystery.

Is it possible this is the lesson of all the carnage?


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