Saturday, September 11, 2004

Thought du Jour: 9/11 Memories and Reactions

A quote for the day:
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die...a time to kill and a time to heal...a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to laugh...a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace." ~Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2a, 3, 4,8

My day on September 11, 2001 started out very much in a normal way. I got up early, I got ready for school, I went to school. I knew nothing about what was unfolding throughout the country. In fact, I didn't find out until about five minutes before the school day ended, when the principal came on the intercom and told us. My teacher told me afterwards that I had gotten a completely focused look on my face while the announcement was being made, and that I looked like I understood what was happening. Well, I did, to an extent. I understood to an extent how serious the events were, and I figured that there would be serious repercussions. But I didn't know everything that was happening, and so I couldn't really understand it.

Now, three years later, I know more about what had happened that day. I've met the members of the family of the co-pilot on one of the flights that crashed into the World Trade Center. I understand better why the attacks were done. And I realize that all the foreign policy-making that has happened since then has related to that day. The entire concept of the War on Terror came about because of 9/11. I watched, with the rest of the country, as we came together to bring justice to those who inflicted so much pain.

But I think that, in trying to bring that justice, we made a few errors. We forgot that mercy is a crucial part of justice. We forgot that, if we are going to go to war against another nation, we need to act by the principles of a just war. Principles like only waging a war as a last resort. Like discriminating between combatants and noncombatants. Like having legitimate authority from those we fight for. Like establishing a peace that is a clear improvement on what previously existed. We forgot to work for peace.

There is a time to pray and a time to fight. Is this the time to pray and end the fighting?

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