This past weekend was the twentieth anniversary of the attack on America on September 11, 2001. I spent a good deal of time reflecting and praying on this event, as well as some others that seem to stay with me. I wasn’t born when the December, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor happened, but my parents talked about it frequently with me. I understood, after 9/11, that they felt the same way then that we did when we watched in abject horror as planes crashed into the World Trade Towers, then the Pentagon, then a field in Pennsylvania.
The emotions don’t leave you; they simmer forever in the back of your brain or deep in your soul.
I was thinking, too, about the turbulent decade of the 1960’s – the horrific events that dotted that era, starting with the Bay of Pigs and then the assassination of our President. More assassinations occurred in that decade – starting with Medgar Evers, then Malcom X, Sam Cooke, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy. People who spoke out against wrongdoing, injustice, and inequity were targeted by killers during that decade. Meanwhile, we were marching, protesting, and fighting to end our involvement in a war in Vietnam. Some of us, naively as it turned out, thought we had prevailed throughout those dark years. We thought that the changes in law that upheld civil rights for minorities, for women, for the underprivileged were the foundation of a new America.
That was true. But the foundation has serious cracks, as we’ve seen in the past few years.
The one thing that seemed positive in these events was the way Americans came together in the aftermath. After Pearl Harbor, America joined the World War. We fought to free those who were captured, enslaved, tortured and killed simply because they worshipped differently or looked differently. And we prevailed.
After the 1960s, we passed landmark legislation ensuring the rights of Americans in minority groups, and with disabilities, and laws that ensure women could make safe choices about their own bodies. We enacted laws to strengthen voting rights and assist in voter registration.
After 9/11, we banded together as a country to fight terrorism, both foreign and domestic. We changed the way we travel, willingly (though with some cheerful complaints) to be sure no one boarded a train, bus, or airplane with weapons. We strengthened security measures and regulations and were happy to do it. We did all this, while displaying the American flag on our homes, on lapel pins, and in store windows.
America came together to ensure the safety of all Americans.
I supposed that’s why the current atmosphere both puzzles and concerns me. We have been fighting a new and deadly virus for twenty months. The smartest and most skilled medical professionals tell us that we must socially distance ourselves, wash our hands frequently, wear masks inside and/or in public, and get vaccinated.
Wow. No marches, no protests, no young people being sent off to fight in foreign country, no assassinations. Just get vaccinated and wear a mask.
You’d think we have done all this by now. You’d think we’d have the virus, and now its’ horrible variant, dead and gone from our country. But no, somehow, this “fight” seems too difficult for some Americans to process. They want to cry “medical freedom” (which, by the way, is not in the Constitution so I’m unclear what they mean).
If they don’t want to take their blood pressure medication or their insulin, that’s fine. They only kill themselves. But not taking this vaccination can harm others. That’s not medical freedom. That’s just wrong.
They claim they don’t “trust” the science. But every day, they trust the science that built their vehicle, their television, their phone, and the processed food they put in their bodies. They trust the science that built their guns, and the breweries that make their favorite beverage. So…I just don’t get it.
It’s a war, America. Come on, wear the mask. Get the shot. Too many people have died for our real freedoms for us to disregard their sacrifices.