As I'm sure all of you know, today is the 9th anniversary of the attacks of September 11th. For my generation, it is the quintessential moment where people of all social standings, races, religions and creeds can say, "I remember that morning..." As I sit here and raise a glass to those who needlessly died that day, I can't help but feel sick to my stomach. But not just the nausea that comes with the empathetic reaction to loss of human life. There is a tinge, a hint, a gnawing thorn that makes today more uncomfortable than other memorial days. As I have said before, I am no conspiracy theorist and I do not intend to spend the rest of this evening focusing on the past 9 years of controversy and chaos. Instead, I'd like to suggest that we as a people look forward. Whatever happened on September 11th, whoever and whatever was behind it, can we say that we as a country, as a people, have evolved? Have we moved forward on a national and global stage that calls for citizen engagement more than ever before? Or have we retreated to the comfortable La-Z-Boy culture that rewards apathy and honors ignorance? Have we garnered respect in a troubled world? Or are we looked upon as the bad cops of a flailing roman empire-esque dictatorship flying a corporate flag?
Whatever your answers to these questions may be, I think that all Americans, no matter what side of the aisle you stand on, can agree that the future, the near future is vital and volatile. This generation stands on the precipice of some major decisions, some major changes. Whatever happened in the past, whoever can and has been blamed, it is ours now. We hold the victories and failures of our predecessors. It might not be fair, but it is the truth. Our involvement in the world is undeniable, and significant. The moves we make are not a game. They effect more than just the few people who still vote. They effect more than the people carrying a US passport. We need to acknowledge that, and act like that is the case. We must not forget the past but we can not afford to dwell on it. I don't give a shit if Bush is an ape who was strategically shaved and put in the oval office with all the grace of a real monkey in a porcelain factory. His time is past and whatever he left behind is our present. We're all standing in glass houses so what good is it to throw stones?
The togetherness we felt on September 12th, 2001 reverberated through the nation like ripples in a lake of human emotion and suffering. Looking back, perhaps that momentary unity was misdirected and ultimately lost to the bickerings of right and left, invasions and middle eastern murmurings.
How many people need to die before we realize that too many have died? In honor of all those who lost their lives that day, let us come together, but for real this time. Let us come together as a nation, dedicated and driven to do the best for this country, ourselves. They are the same thing...remember: of the people, for the people and by the people. That's us.
I hope all of you take a moment of silence today, pray if that's your thing, or simply raise a glass as I am and make a promise, that your generation, your lifetime will not be the last to call this nation great.