Monday, May 2, 2011

I think of Juliana’s Eyes

Good morning, America.

9.11.01 was a beautiful, crisp, clear, sunny day on the east coast of the United States, as was yesterday, 5.1.11.  The difference is, that on 9.11.01, terrible violence was done.  On 5.1.11, as President Obama informed the nation just before midnight, justice was done.  On 9.11.01, Osama Bin Laden rained violent death and destruction upon our people and country.  On 5.1.11, he reaped what he sowed, as the United States of America came calling and put an end to his reign of terror.

At this great moment, I feel there is no liberal, conservative, left, right, blue, red, yellow dog, blue dog, tea partier, or any other divisive labels.  Today, as on 9.11.01, we are all united.  We are all simply Americans, and human beings.  Though our country has become terribly divided, today all of that falls away and we are one.  The spirit of every American who lived through 9.11.01 and who died on it and in the wars fought in its name, is at Ground Zero today, present as witnesses to justice finally triumphing bittersweet.

I have to give credit where credit is richly due here:  great job, President Obama, in bringing this evil (I don’t use that word lightly, but Osama Bin Laden truly was so violent and took so much pleasure in targeting the innocent, that there is no other word I can use) terrorist to justice.  He will never again blow an innocent four-year-old child out of the sky.  There were thousands of innocent victims on that day, but sometimes it is very clarifying to me to think of just one little girl, Juliana Valentine McCourt, whose tragic death that day was just one of many, yet it was one that particularly touched my heart, brought tears to my eyes again and again, and frankly enraged me at Osama Bin Laden.

Juliana was a totally innocent, beautiful, four-year-old girl with strikingly gorgeous eyes.  She died on Flight 175.  Her tragic, violent, senseless death hit me especially hard and I always thought, if I came face to face with Osama Bin Laden, I’d like to ask him what grand point he thought he was making by blowing up innocent children.  But there is no point staring evil in the face and questioning it, hoping for a glint of human decency to shine through.  All you can do when you come face to face with a force of pure, violent evil like Osama Bin Laden is exactly what we did:  defend the world from any further violence emanating from it by snuffing it out.  Like I said, he will never blow another four-year-old child out of the sky.  And, had I been the one to come face to face with him and pull the trigger, I think that is what I would have said to him just before pulling it:  you will never again blow a four-year-old child out of the sky.

We can’t bring Juliana or the other 2,976 victims of 9.11 back, or all the Americans, allies and civilians who have died since in wars vaguely lumped together in “the war on terror”.  That is the “bitter” part of this bittersweet justice.  But we have now stopped Bin Laden from committing any future violence.  That’s the “sweet” part.

Have we ended terrorism or even Al Qaeda?  No.  However, one very violent incarnation of evil has been struck down and, in so doing, justice has been served.

It’s a clear crisp morning here today, as it was on 9.11.01.  The world is the same as it was, as it always has been.  Night cycles to day and then back again.  Everything comes full circle.  I believe, as Anne Frank mused years ago in the face of another incarnation of evil, good is stronger than evil and will triumph in the end.  We are witness to that today.  Amen, and good morning, my beautiful country.  May we take note of this moment and the feeling of unity and togetherness.  May we remember that it is the real us and stronger than all that divides us.  And may we always remember and honor Juliana's eyes, for they reflected the goodness, innocence, hope and promise of the future that unites us.

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