Sunday, September 11, 2022, was a good day. The sun was in full force after an entire Saturday of much-needed rain that brought home exciting victories for my two favorite Kansas college football teams. We had a great dinner with the family followed by some outside playtime with my grandsons. It was also opening day for the National Football League which I always look forward to with great enthusiasm.
While waiting for the Chiefs game to begin, I sat for a few minutes on the porch to read a book as research for a new writing project on French physicist, Léon Foucault. People were walking. Kids were riding bikes. Cars were out on Sunday drives. It gave me a good feeling. A beautiful day. NFL football. A good book. A full belly and a full heart.
All is good in the world but then the date wormed its way from the core of that full heart and into my thoughts. It’s still a tough day 21 years later even for someone like me, whose only direct connection to the victims and the heroes are the shared bond of being American. I wrote previously about the experience of being a high school football coach during that terrible week in our country’s history in a piece called, Game of Tears.
21 years later I sit on my porch and think back on 2001. I think more and more with the recent dumpster fire of extreme political ideologies about 2001 and the aftermath of the September 11th tragedy. It was America at its best. Working together, helping each other out, consoling and comforting our fellow citizens. The “Never Forget” t-shirts and prayer vigils. The horrifying images juxtaposed with heroism by first responders, airline passengers, volunteers, and our leaders working together.
Where did that spirit, the spirit at the heart of this great nation, go? How easily did we allow the wedge driven by our enemies split us and fracture the “Never Forget” spirit of 9/11/2001? Can we ever get that back without enduring another national tragedy?
I hope so. I pray we can.
P.S. While watching the 60 Minutes piece on 9/11 yesterday after the Chiefs game, the video footage affected me not as it has in many years. It was tough, I admit it. I don’t know why it hit me harder in year 21 than it has in a while. I’m trying to figure it out.