Friday, September 12, 2008

The Tragedy of 9/11

Evolving from its original literary usage, the word tragedy discribes a great misfortune worthy of pity and mourning. However, the misfortune is often a result of some inner character flaw, a mistake based on ignorance, an opposition of moral dilemmas, etc. As a result, what took place could have been avoided, but the realization and wisdom needed often comes too late. Today, the word tragedy is highly overused to describe merely sad and unfortunate events, which in itself is unfortunate since it begins to desensitize us to the full impact of the word in instances when it is appropriate to use it, such as 9/11. While death, especially when unexpected is sad, it is not tragic. While destruction, especially at the hands of another is maddening, it too is not tragic. While distress, especially due to preventable circumstances is unfortunate, again it is not tragic. But, hate overcoming love, intolerance overcoming acceptance, suspicion overcoming trust, and fear overcoming faith is indeed tragic. When these things are allowed to happen, they mar the essence of humanity, they taint the nature of civilization and as a result, the human race suffers as a whole. Not only at the time they occur, but for all of humanity and for the future of all civilization.

Many people choose to focus on the heroic and selfless deeds that strangers did for each in the midst of the horror that day. While I too feel inspired and touched by the great lengths others went to and the ultimate sacrifices they were willing to make, I do not feel, however, that it takes a manmade catastrophe to remind me of these amazing qualities that live within the human spirit. Sadly, there have been, and will continue to be, enough natural and accidental disasters that bring out the best in myself as well as my fellow man. However, before 9/11, I never knew what or who Al Qaeda was, and now I find I hate people I never met. I find I am intolerant of a religion that promotes dissent. I find I am hesitant to travel and discover other cultures. I find I am mistrustful of strangers just because of their dress or nationality. And, unlike Ann Frank, in spite of all the courage and heroism I saw, I find that I am doubtful that people are truly good at heart. I know I am not alone. I know I am one of the many people from recent generations that have had the luxury of being born after the Holocost, after two world wars, after Pearl Harbor. I know I am not the only person who lost some of their innocence that day, who’s human essence has been permanently scarred.

Yes, many people died that day, many businesses were crippled, and many governments were shaken to the core. Our remembrance of 9/11 is significant because it gives us the opportunity to reach out and let others know we will never forget or stop mourning the personal pain we all felt, nor will we stop revering the numerous heroic and selfless acts we witnessed. But, the tragedy of that day is not something we have to remember because it is here, it is happening now, with every moment we live. Those senseless and cruel events had a profound and pervasive affect on all of us. The ramifications of which will continue to be widespread and felt by everyone, everywhere.

Whenever I remember what happened this day seven years ago, I am truly saddened by those individuals who experienced significant misfortune and loss. But, whenever I think about what happened, my heart breaks for me, my child, my family and the human race.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes looks like it was yesterday, but it's not. Anyway, it is great to see that some still remember and don't forget. :)

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