Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Saturday was the third anniversary of the "attack on America." We have been told, as recently as the Republican convention, that this was a day that changed the world forever. Except for the fact that certain American leaders have used this attack as an excuse for everything from reducing its citizens rights to an unprovoked assault on a Middle Eastern country, I don't see much change.

And now, someone who has never put his life on the line or suffered the consequences of one of his mistakes is referring to himself as a war president.

This is the latest day in American history where a generation can talk about where they were.

I was in a 3rd grade classroom on November 22, 1963. It was my eighth birthday. Though I don't recall for something, it's possible the teacher said something about the assination. I have a very clear memory of Uncle Walter wiping away a tear after he reported the death of John F. Kennedy.

I was something of a news junky in 1968. Brother Dave was already in 'Nam, as memory recalls. I remember seeing the riots after Martin was killed. I remember watching Bobby's victory speech in California, delivered just minutes before he was murdered.

I was also very interested in the space program, and watched every Apollo mission; especially that moment when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon.

I remember hearing the report about the killings at Kent State. Padre and I went to a candlelight vigil on the State Capitol lawn that same week.

Every waking hour in the summer of 1972 was devoted to watching the Watergate Hearings.

Don't remember when Reagan was shot. Though I didn't like the man, or approve of his policies, that assination attempt was just weird.

I remember the incredible sadness I felt after John Lennon was murdered.

I remember the Challenger crash, and the Columbia crash. I ate breakfast in a fugue state after hearing about the latter.

The morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I had a job interview. I went to the interview just a few moments after the first tower was hit. The son of a woman in a near-by office was in New York City, worked near the Trade Center. She was quite frantic, as you can imagine. Her son, Steven had been in Oklahoma City on April 19, as well. On the morning of 9/11, he was in a cab heading to work - a bit late - heard the report on the radio and told the driver to turn around. He had been in this movie once before.

Each one of these events changed our view of the world. Or, at least, had the potential to. As Archbishop Rowan Williams has pointed out, the rest of the world has already known the scourge of terrorism — especially the Middle East. When we experienced that catastrophic event that Tuesday morning, the world embraced us. We had a chance to accept their greeting, and to acknowledge the pain our world neighbors have experienced in terrorists' attacks.

Instead, our president chose to go the way he had from the moment he entered office. Alone. We are the Leader of the Free World, and we dictate the terms. We are strong, and we need no one. We stand on our own.

And here we stand, two years after the invasion of Iraq, knee-deep in quicksand.

Here's a chance to change our little corner of the world — Defeat Bush.

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