Reaction to the 9/11 Memorial

Image Credit: Sgt. Randall A. Clinton

I stand in front of the 9/11 memorial, overwhelmed by thoughts and images of the fear and pain experienced by so many almost 13 years ago.

I feel no terror.

I feel a deep sadness. As tears stream down my face, I look at the names engraved on the memorial, trying my best to honor and remember men and women I never met, yet feel like lost family.

And still, no terror.

The sadness subsides, and is gradually replaced by a bubbling anger. Rage. I want to rip the arms off of every person who was involved with or cheered on the tragedy before me. I want to shove a lit butane torch in their face until they scream for mercy that never comes.

As the rage subsides, I find my fading violent thoughts disconcerting. And still, no terror.

I start walking away from the memorial. As I look at a bustling street filled with people of different races, creeds, religions, sexual orientations, incomes, and every other difference imaginable, all existing together in peace and harmony, I feel proud to play a part, however small, in a culture that can sustain such coexistence, mere feet away from the site of overwhelming tragedy.

Long after the ugly creatures championing a cause of hate and death have been forgotten, this city, that memorial, and our society will still be known around the world.

For all our many faults, for all our numerous mistakes, our society still drives the human race forward.

The sadness has faded, the rage gone, replaced by a sense of comfort and pride.

And still, no terror.