Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Morning After

So now it's September 12. What next?

Yesterday, the flag on the Ferry Building was at half-mast. Today, it's back at the top. But the flag outside of the fireboat station house is still at half-mast. A tribute? A jammed pulley? There was no one outside to ask.

In the plaza of AT&T Park, behind the statue of Willie Mays (who was both a New York and a San Francisco Giant), there are simple red, white, and blue banners listing the names of all those who died. Ezra Aviles's name was there--I checked. There is a red, white, and blue "ribbon" of bunting and the words "We Will Never Forget." It was there yesterday. It was there today.

Michelle Malkin has two important posts. The first is "Never Forget: The South Tower Collapse". It's a recording of the 911 call Kevin Cosgrove made while trapped in the 105th floor. The video is powerful. Mr. Cosgrove was only two years younger than me and left behind a wife and three children.

The second is the text of President Bush's address to the nation last night. Since I prefer to read President Bush's speeches, I can't tell you how he sounded. But the text is an eloquent statement of what we're up against. Of course, I happen to agree that we're in a fight for civilization itself and that there is no appeasing Islamic terrorists. Their reality is not our reality and what they mean by "peace" is not what we in the West mean (usually). Unlike Alice, however, we cannot simply say, "Why, you're nothing but a pack of cards!", wake up, brush the leaves from our faces, and continue on as if nothing had happened.

I have no answer for those who see conspiracy around every corner, who think that Bush is the Epitome of All That Is Evil, who do not see the irony of publicly and loudly proclaiming that "America is becoming a fascist state!" without fear of becoming "disappeared," who want to examine minutely What America Has Done to Make Them Hate Us.

Y'know, sometimes people hate you. If love is not logical, then why does hate have to be?

One thing the 2996 Project showed me is the incredible strength of the ordinary American. The elites may scorn them as "ignorant," "hicks," or "unsophisticated." But when the time came to take action, they did. Flight attendants spoke with officials on the ground, giving them information. Passengers recited the 23rd Psalm and stormed the cockpit. Firefighters and police officers rushed in, whether off-duty or on. Port Authority personnel took charge and tried to move people to safety. One man wouldn't leave behind his wheelchair-bound co-worker, staying with him until the end.

And then many more joined the military to fight the True Evil that threatens our homes and our way of life.

I should not have been surprised. The Continental Army was made up of ordinary men who worried about leaving their families, their farms, their businesses behind, but who also knew that something more was required if they--and their children--were to be able to live their lives as they chose.

Most of these heroes and heroines don't seek the spotlight. They are just "doing their job" and don't understand why that should be so special.

Frankly, give me one of these "common" men and/or women in an uncommon situation over any of the "elite."