I will not be watching the tributes today. I don't need to see the re-runs. I can play the thing in my head pretty much anytime I care to.
It was and is awful, of course, the worst day America has ever seen. It was shocking, terrible, deeply tragic. I walked into the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to renew my driver's license, saw people weeping, and had no idea. The bureaucracy was bad, but not that bad. And then I saw the second tower fall, and I knew that the world had changed.
And the world has changed. We're less free than we used to be, and if you don't believe it, just visit your nearest airport. We are more divided, more belligerent, more prone to chanting and slogans than measured dialogue. Don't believe it? Just turn on the NFL game of your choice today, and listen to the "U.S.A." chants.
For what it's worth, I pray that God blesses the U.S.A. I pray that God blesses Iran and Iraq and Afghanistan. I pray that hatred will not have the final word -- in New York City, in Washington D.C., and in Baghdad and Kabul. I pray, and sometimes it seems an impossible prayer, that love will prevail.
I pray that people will listen to one another. I pray that the demonization will stop, that people will see individuals and not ideologies, that people will be evaluated according to the character of their lives rather than their wardrobes, their religions, or their political persuasions. Mostly I pray for mercy. It's what I need. It's what the U.S.A. needs. I pray that I will become a more gracious human being, more compassionate, less concerned with my rights and my beliefs and my agendas. And I pray that I will turn the channel when I see the sentimentalization and mythologizing of a day that should remain starkly real and starkly terrible. I pray that we learn from the past, not make a video montage of it, complete with soaring strings.