We've had a day, two days really, of immersion in 9/11. And last week we had the same with Katrina. Anniversaries are tough, and those of us who were relatively untouched by these monumental tragedies still feel the horror even if we can't begin to comprehend the grief of the victims, survivors, those left behind. I am reminded though of seeing a TV segment of children of 9/11 victims who asked why it had to be on TV all the time--good question. It's not as though without the rehashing we'll forget.
But tonight I watched a tasteful segment on NBC's Dateline that chronicled the last minutes, hour, whatever of Flight 93, including those phone calls--varying in tone from bravado to desperation--back to family. We've all praised the passengers on that flight--as did the president tonight--for their bravery, for refusing to die like cattle led to slaughter. But there's an aspect I haven't heard much mentioned: have you thought about what would have happened if that plane had crashed into the Capitol, taking out most of the Congress? Where would our country have gone? Would the surviving administration set martial law in order, which might well still be in effect today? Would the government simply have disappeared, leaving us rudderless and then really vulnerable to attack? It's beyond imagination to think of the ramifications, and yet I'm surprised we don't hear that, even in the president's heart-rending speeches about patriotism. Do I think the people on flight 93 thought about that? No, I don't. I think they thought about thwarting the terrorists--their focus was on the immediate. But we owe them such a huge debt of gratitude that one can hardly speak of it. And when President Bush speaks of American's determination and courage--okay, I'm no fan of his--I don't think he comprehends that the action of those people on that plane were the ultimate in American spirit.
Sometimes these days it's hard for me to be proud to be an American--I'm so proud of my country and so loyal to it, but the current administration gets in my way. (And I vowed my blog would never be political!) But the people on #93 make me really proud. And they make me wonder if I could possibly have had their courage. A sobering thought.