Rah-rah nationalism is not for me.

I won’t pretend that I think the United States is the best country in the world, or even the continent.  Much like how I feel about my own mother, I love my motherland for the life it gave me, the values it gifted me, and the opportunities it fostered for me;  I also see the errors of its ways that I do not want to see repeated in my generation and future generations to come.   I want it to improve and grow and be better and I want to be part of that.  I am fine with being part of that here or by leaving until America does better.

So, when I say that this day, twelve years ago, is day that I will never forget, it isn’t because I see it as some national “come together” day or some proof that you can’t cut America down. While I am grateful for those who serve to defend my right to say and do what I please, I don’t see today as the day to honor their sacrifices – I should be doing that every day.

Today means something that’s really quite hard to describe.  It means anguish and pain and terrifying uncertainty.  It also means love and reaching out and a desire to progress in the face of it all.  It was horrifying and enlightening.  It wasn’t about borders or national values until much later – no.  That day was about huddling together collectively as humans who needed comfort in the face of fear.  National borders disappeared as people around the world watched what was happening and looked on in disbelief.  This day, as the day of any tragedy, is a wound on the human psyche.  And so, I will choose to remember no matter where I go, no matter which nation I choose to make my home.  Forgetting is not an option, even though distance might separate, even when it feels like it would be kinder.

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I don’t forget because it was a tragedy – a human tragedy – that happened on my doorstep.

I won’t forget because I see so many people still suffer effects of that day in this day.

I can’t forget because that day showed me my selfishness and taught me to be better.

The suffering of many is something I do not wish to forget because I can alleviate suffering, if I choose to see it.  If I choose to be better.  If I choose to be the best of what it means to be human to the best of my ability.

That’s what today is for me: a remembrance of suffering that encourages me to hope.

I do hope for a better world.

I will hope for the peace and tranquility we’ve spent a dozen years searching for in the the wrong places.

I can hope for selflessness in others as I work to express it in myself.

The hope of many is something I wish for because if we can hope together, I believe we can build a new, better world together.

On this, the twelfth anniversary of a truly horrific act, I wish to remember and I wish to hope.

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