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We were shaken.
We felt united.
We reflected on what was really important.
I say we, because in many ways it felt like “we”, however individual and personal my own reaction may have been on that Tuesday morning six years ago.

My own resolve to recommit myself to a greater purpose than simply making money and entertaining myself was a personal one, and yet in the days that followed our national tragedy, I held to the notion that out of this tragedy, comparable personal transformations throughout the nation and beyond were planting seeds for transformative movements of which few of us were even yet conceiving.

Much of my usual political filtering was dropped. When President Bush spoke, I really listened, believing that our shared loss transcended our partisan differences. It's not that I expected Bush to become liberal, or suddenly share my views on domestic policy, the environment, social issues, and so forth. But surely tragedy might beget honesty, and shared values could become our focus in response. And I was heartened by much of what I heard. The words were sober. The call on Americans to refrain from scapegoating those of Arab descent were welcome words, worthy of Presidential speech.

We needed a leader, and for the moment, in spite of our political differences, I believed we had one.

Six years later, after more contentious elections, dirty politics, and the usual influence of money on power, it is easy to be cynical and dismissive of the notion that individual transformations, borne of personal reactions to 9/11, might hold any hope for a brighter future. Certainly Karl Rove opportunistically played the 9/11 card to spawn divisiveness, rather than to inspire unity, and others on both sides of the political aisle responded in kind. But in 2006 Rove's plan finally backfired, and while reactions on the surface may all look to be partisan posturing, and the red vs. blue of a divided nation, I wouldn't sell short the power of memory.

I'm not giving up on the idea that personal transformations rooted in one moment may bring fruit in another. Ask not what ideology spawned the transformation or the activity which grew out of it, but rather whether it contributes to a brighter tomorrow. There are now over 300 million Americans. Our potential remains unknown. In the words of Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

America, remember! You are not perfect, nor never have been, but you have long represented the land of the possible. Terrorists and ideologues cannot crush our spirit. Neither should a few missteps in response. Let us respond as befits a great people. Keep hope alive, work together, engage in open dialog, innovate, and thrive.

Posted by Walker Willingham at September 11, 2007 11:11 AM
Comment #232561

Walker, that was refreshing and I thank you for your gracious comments that both sides of the political spectrum can embrace.

Posted by: Jim at September 11, 2007 1:59 PM
Comment #232568



Posted by: Jim T at September 11, 2007 2:30 PM
Comment #232580


You’ve given us an uplifting and important statement of hope. As leadership fails us we Americans will have to look even more towards each other to give our leaders the guidance and wisdom a free country demands. Keep talking America. Talk on the blogs, talk to your neighbors. Talk and keep asking why.

Posted by: chris2x at September 11, 2007 3:54 PM
Comment #232613


A friend that I had called and awakened that day to tell him to turn on the TV, said the world is different after today. I disagreed.

The Mexican Nationals on a construction site teased me that “someone doesn’t like you Gringos.”

It was certainly a significant event.

Sadly, what stands out to me today is the opportunity lost by this President to reshuffle America’s role in the world. What a waste.

Posted by: alien from the planet zorg at September 11, 2007 10:02 PM
Comment #232615

Putin, who according to Bush “has a good heart”, remembered 9-11 by watching the testing of the “Father of All Bombs”.

“Showing the orange-painted U.S. prototype, the report said the Russian bomb was four times more powerful — 44 metric tons of TNT equivalent — and the temperature at the epicenter of its blast was two times higher.”

Posted by: KansasDem at September 11, 2007 10:17 PM
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