I usually stay away from blogging about trendy topics (notice the lack of commentary about the recent royal wedding). However, the death of Osama bin Laden was a historical event that was extremely poignant to me. And so, I’ve decided to dedicate two blogs to it. And don’t worry, I will not throw out the sarcastic caddy remarks against the President that many of my fellow right-wing republicans have stooped to saying. Honestly, this event isn’t about the President. It’s not about any one person or group or even country. President Obama, like all of us, was merely this year’s player in a – game of good vs. evil.
bin Laden’s death did nothing if not remind every single American of that fateful day 10 years ago. Do you remember where you were that day? I’ll never forget. I was 15 and a sophomore in high school. We didn’t make it a habit of watching morning TV when I was a kid, so I showed up at zero period PE without any idea as to what was going on. As I was changing out of my uniform and getting ready to start the day, an acquaintance of mine came into the girls locker room rather hysterical. “Did you hear? Planes just flew into the twin towers. It was a terrorist attack!”
Now to be honest, I didn’t even know what the twin towers were (insert joke about Californian’s being so self obsessed that we don’t even take the time to learn about national icons). But terrorist attacks and plans flying into any building didn’t seem like a good thing to me. The severity of the event hadn’t even begun to sink in.
I don’t know why, but I don’t remember talking about the event or learning more about it until 3rd period spanish. My teacher didn’t teach at all that day, he talked to us about the events and turned on the radio so we could hear what was going on. It was in that class that I fully understood what had happened and it shook me to the core. My uncle was a pilot for United and I remember being slightly scared that he was involved in the crash. I knew the odds were slim, but I called my mom on my lunch break just to be sure. He was fine, although in the years to follow his job would be a complicated mess of pay cuts, heightened security measures and pressure from the government to rejoin the airforce.
My high school was located next to a Marine military base. The base was put on lock down in the early morning and none of the base kids came to school that day. I remember a helicopter flying overhead during snack break and the whole school freaking out a little. Our school was also located near a nuclear power plant and we, being the excitable teenagers that we were, decided that being next to a power plant and a military base made us the perfect target for the next crash landing. Our teachers literally spent the entire day reassuring us that we weren’t in any sort of real danger.
Every memory beyond that is kind of a blur. But what I’ll always remember is the patriotism and the comradery that followed that event. The yellow ribbons around every tree, the heroic fire fighters that thought nothing of risking their lives to save others, the groups of people that traveled from all over the country to lend a helping hand. I’ll never forget the faces of people who were missing and all the ways people pitched in to give publicity to those faces. Could you imagine if we had had facebook back then? Missing faces would have peppered our newsfeeds.
I wish that bin Laden’s death unified us the way his attack did. Not that I think we should throw a giant celebration or pump our fists in the air (although I do think one round of Team America’s “America F%$# Yeah” may be in order). But I think that we should at least take a moment to remember 9/11, to remember what we suffered and what we overcame. Can we forget, just for a moment, that we are in a national economic crisis and loosing houses and jobs and a rate that takes our breath away. Can we ignore the bickering politicians who, with every stupid slanderous remark, drive a dividing wedge deeper and deeper into the heart of our nation? Instead, remember the courage, determination, teamwork and patriotism that has seen this country through civil war, world war, depressions, drought and the horrific attacks on 9/11. Find hope and encouragement that if we can get through all that crap, and if we can catch a terrorist after decade of seemingly hopeless attempts, we can get through anything.
Life is a never ending game of good vs. evil. Today, good won. Tomorrow, evil takes another victory. The death of bin Laden is not the end of terrorism, its probably the beginning. And until the day when Jesus returns and good wins forever, what are we to do? Pray, remember that our power lies with God, not within ourselves. Love, remember our fight is against Satan not against our fellow man. Hope, remember that the game eventually ends in our favor. Smile, remember that goodness exists anywhere we are willing to look.