Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11

I wasn't going to write about this day here. I don't know still that I have anything unique to add, that anything about my experience of a clear autumn day five years ago is much different than what 250 million of my fellow Americans experienced.

But I've reconsidered. I do think it is important to remember September 11, 2001. On that day, civilization itself recieved a blow from the barbarians, and just as those who sacked Rome in 476 AD, these barbarians want nothing less than the destruction of our way of life. It is important we never forget, for if civilization is to stand against barbarism, we must remember what makes us different.

I had here written a lengthy description of what I did that day. That really doesn't matter though. What matters, as I wrote for my school paper the next week, is how we respond. Yes, preservation of civilization is necessary. And yes, to defend a flock of sheep, wolves must sometimes be killed. It is important that we do not allow that killing to make us killers, and that we remember why and what we defend.

Though I wrote a poem on that day, like most poems attempted by amateurs, it isn't any good, so I'm going to close instead with some lines by a real poet, who saw the world change nearly one hundred years ago, and similarly, he recognized theat things would never be the same. He could have written this yesterday.

Never before such innocence,
Never before or since,
As changed itself to past
Without a word - the men
Leaving the gardens tidy,
The thousands of marriages
Lasting a little while longer:
Never such innocence again.

From MCMXIV, by Philip Larkin

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thebeloved said...

It was interesting trying to figure out how to address the American feeling towards this day to thirty kids from the Middle East. They and the teachers I work with were full of questions.

medstudentitis said...

I'm glad you were able to blog about it when I wasn't. I feel horribly inadequate to blog about something I only watched on TV. I have to say though, I'm proud of humanity for what they did on September 11th AFTER the attacks - people came together and opened their hearts and homes to those left stranded and many people risked their lives to help recover the bodies of others' loved ones. What I choose to remember about September 11th is that humanity can be great when we put our mind to it.

Alex said...

Your reference to the sacking of Rome is precisely what a professor reminded us of in a lecture he gave on that evening. Alluding to textual excerpts from Augustine's City of God (, he spoke particularly concerning a proper Christian response to terrorism. In brief summary, it would be wrong and unjust for Christians (in America and elsewhere) no to be outraged by the unjust actions of terrorism, such as those of September 11th.