I have had a lot on my mind lately about the way the events of 9/11 are being recognized. I know exactly where I was that day -- I was getting onto I-85 in Buford, GA on my way to have an ultrasound for my first child. It was my husband's birthday, as well as my dad's, and I had just gotten off of the phone with my mom who told me that my dad was en route to Washington DC for work when the news came on the radio. The initial impression was that this was an accident -- not a terrorist attack, so while I was horrified for those involved, there was no fear yet. By the time I reached the doctor's office, the second plane had hit and there was speculation forming about what was going on. Then we heard about the Pentagon, and I began to think of my dad who was "en route" to Washington. Then the 4th plane went down and I began obsessively switching from CNN, to NBC, to Fox News looking for ANY new information. Panic doesn't really begin to describe that feeling. Fear is a short word with heavy meaning that I never fully understood until that day. It was afternoon before I got through to my mom who told me my dad was safe. But even then, I knew that there were thousands who were personally effected by these tragedies, even if I had been lucky enough to have not lost anyone. The coming days and weeks were full of stories of tragedy, heroism, loss, and rescues. There was hope, and lost hope, and this country went on an emotional roller coaster ride that I do not believe any of us will ever forget or would want to repeat. There were images of people celebrating this attack in other countries -- dancing in the street chanting "Death to America," and there were little children who were being taught to trample and burn our flag by their parents. Those images made me angry. Angry at any country who celebrated the tragic death of innocent men, women, and children and thought that it somehow proved that we were infidels and that "Allah" was on their side and not ours. That anger took a long time to dissipate.
Some people in our country are still holding onto that anger. They spout off without thinking at the drop of a hat, and go into tirades about the Muslims, the Arabs, the terrorists as if they are all one in the same. While I relish the fact that we live in a free country, and I understand that the Freedom of Speech applies to everyone (even those who make an ass out of themselves every time they open their mouths), I believe that this particular freedom is frequently abused. The men most directly responsible for the terrorist attacks on our country died along with their victims. Many of those who helped to facilitate those attacks have been captured or killed in the War on Terror. As for the thousands, or perhaps millions, who relish in America's pain...well, they have their own pain. They live in countries where their freedoms are few, their luxuries far between, and their "government" cares little (if anything) about their plight. I learned in elementary school that you cannot make everyone love you -- or even LIKE you -- so it should come as no surprise that there are countries out there who do not think America is awesome the way that I do. However, the key is the same with countries as it is with a 7 year old -- you may not like them, but you have to share the classroom. So while I do not believe that we can force them to like us and our lifestyles and our religions and our way of life, I KNOW that we have to coexist with them.
So why, would ANYONE in their right mind think that burning the Koran would accomplish anything other than inciting more anger and hatred? I am not suggesting that we all hold hands and sing "Kumba Ya" or get together for a picnic, but how is burning the sacred text of Islam going to help anyone move forward? How would this Pastor Jones feel if a Muslim group recommended that everyone burn a Bible on December 25th? It is ludicrous. On the flip-side, why would anyone think that it would be a good idea to build a mosque on Ground Zero? I personally believe that that is sacred ground -- not "religious" sacred, but patriotically sacred. It belongs to our nation -- not to the Baptists, the Catholics, the Mormons, the Jews or the Muslims. NO church should be allowed to build there. The men who caused all of that mayhem, death, and grief did so in the name of Islam. And while "true" Islam (as I understand it) does not support their actions, they did what they did in the "Name of Allah." Building a mosque on that site would be like building a Nazi Cultural Center at Auschwitz -- completely inappropriate.
And that is my rant for the day.
God bless th USA and may He be with all of the men and women who serve this country and often die to protect the freedoms that we so often misuse and abuse.