Eleven years ago, on a day much like this one here in Indianapolis today, life changed in an instant.
For most of us that were alive on 9/11/01, we remember where we were when we heard the horrible news that the United States was under attack by terrorists determined to shake our souls and our spirits. Here we are 11 years since that awful day, and it's hard to remember what life was like before it. Our lives are now measured in before 9/11 and after 9/11.
I can't, to this day, watch video of 9/11 for very long without changing the channel or turning it off. It takes me back to that very dark place I was in on that day. For me, that feeling lasted a few weeks. I had nightmares about falling buildings and felt depressed about life. After a while, life returned to some sort of normalcy. For many people closer to the situation, they confronted this tragedy in a way they couldn't avoid and life would never be the same. Every night, there's an empty spot on the couch or in the bed. A spot that used to be occupied by someone who boarded a plane or went to work on 9/11/01.
This morning, I heard local radio host Greg Garrison attack the sitting President of the United States on his radio program with the same old right wing rhetoric about Barack Obama's professors and friends. It's the old "pal-ing around with terrorists and extremists" rhetoric that the right has been using ad nauseum since 2007 on Obama. Then, on the very next segment of his show, Garrison tried to emote a tear out of his audience by describing how Richard Mourdock appeared misty-eyed as the Columbia Club's flag was raised then lowered to half staff.
I have no doubt that Greg Garrison and Richard Mourdock are both patriotic people, but this day shouldn't be about political rhetoric.
This day should be about those people that went to work that day and never came home. This day should be about the firefighters and the police officers that charged into that building knowing what fate they might meet. This day should be about the thousands of soldiers wounded or killed in battle overseas protecting this country. This day should not be about petty political discourse we've been hearing for going on five years about the sitting President of the United States.
We can get back to politics tomorrow. Let's use this day to talk about what a bright future we have and how out of the ashes of 9/11, our country emerged unified. Let's talk about what it will take, beyond politics, to get to the point where we move together arm and arm and see things move forward.