Every once in a while our HOA puts flags on all the lampposts up and down the main street in our community. This street not only runs right through the middle of our neighborhood, but it’s also the only way to get in or out of the community. I love seeing these flags on 4th of July weekend and Veterans Day, etc. Sometimes I see the flags and wonder, am I missing something? What holiday is it? That happens every single Flag Day and Presidents’ Day.
A couple of days ago I saw the flags go up and noticed the black strip they put on them for days like Memorial Day. It took me a minute to realize that they were there to commemorate the September 11 attacks. With that realization I was suddenly filled with a feeling of happiness and love. It seems strange to feel happiness when thinking about the anniversary of such a terrible day because September 11, 2001 was very frightening and and sobering.
But 15 years later, when the baby boy I was 5 months pregnant with at the time of the attacks is a freshman in high school, it warms my heart with love, gratitude, and pride to see the day faithfully remembered each year. Love for this unique, freedom-loving country; gratitude for the men and women who serve it every day in the military, police force, and fire department; and pride in the unity, camaraderie, and patriotism shown by the American people every year at this time. People who may not agree on a single political issue come together to agree on at least one thing: that September 11, 2001 was a devastating day that must never be repeated, and certainly never forgotten. It may seem unfitting that it warms my heart and brings me joy to see so many flags memorializing that terrible day. But I think the way I feel God’s spirit the strongest is in a way that I can only describe as love, happiness and peace. And when I see those flags I’m filled with that spirit, thinking of how awesome our country was founded to be and still is. I love the people of this country. I love America! We’re so loud and obnoxious and prideful and I love it because it means we’re the most free people on the planet.
I love that when we rebuilt the World Trade Center we didn’t make it smaller to be less prone to attack, and we didn’t make it the same either: we made it bigger. Of course. Because that’s what Americans do. It’s 408 feet taller than the tallest of the original twin towers, making it the tallest building in the western hemisphere: topping off at an appropriate 1776 feet. It was aptly named The Freedom Tower.
This country is all about freedom. Freedom of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Freedom to build a new Trade Center that actually kind of does look like you’re flipping off Al Qaeda.
Yup. Because America.