Flashback: Lessons Learned from 9-11

Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Today is a day when we are all remembering that horrific day when we heard about the twin towers. I was standing in a Maverick when someone came in and announced what happened, and it felt as if everything after that happened in slow motion. No one moved, no one left. We just looked around at each others faces in a kind of disbelieving horror that something like this could happen here- in our country- to our own people.

In the minutes and days that followed the rumors spread and finally the dust settled on the truth: that a group of men with hate in their hearts had done this thing with no purpose. The media gave them faces, we could look into the faces and see hate.

In the aftermath- we also had to learn to separate those who did harm from those who did not- even if they had the same religion or the same skin tones. Even if they came from the same families- countries- cities.  Amid issues of racial profiling and hate crimes we had to come to grips with the knowledge that our furor over what happened on 9-11 was not the fault of everyone that reminded us of those hateful persons. Our country is founded on accepting people from all places, all religions, and giving them the opportunity to become part of us.

When I first heard about the ride to Washington- I started hearing the same kinds of rumors and misinformation that we heard after 9-11. It was going to be a march against Muslims, it was going to be a statement showing their united hatred of a group of people. I even heard on the radio that they were 'denied permission to enter Washington D.C.', something which is absolutely not true. What they were denied was a permit to have the lights all turned green so they could ride through in a parade style without having to deal with traffic. No one said they couldn't go to our nations capital and make whatever statement they wanted.

I later heard it was no longer going to be the march against Muslims. If you go to the Facebook page it says their intent is to "remember those who were killed on 9-11 and honor our armed forces who fought those who precipitated this attack."

But if you look further- you'll see evidence this is about more than that. In fact- our armed forces didn't really initially fight against 'those who precipitated this attack'. We went to war with Iraq for totally different reasons. And the propaganda coming out of Washington does make it appear as if this ride is against people who are different- people of Muslim background- people of Islam.

Caption from the Facebook Page said "Awesome Sign showing support for those who died on 9-11"

I think we need to be very careful when we focus our rage here. We can be angry at those who hate America or democracy to the point they will focus that hatred towards our people. But to say we have to target all people of Muslim faith (or the current President though that is another issue for another day) makes as much sense as blaming the Jewish community for Columbine because Dylan Klebold's mother was Jewish.

Americans do not support terrorists of any kind, any religion or any nationality. We do not support them here or abroad. We don't support their hatred or their actions. We need to be very careful that in our stand against hatred we don't become haters ourselves.

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