My memorial to the 2,801 innocent souls who lives were taken in the infamous and horrific act of cowardice and hatred.

I am the flag of the United States of America.
My name is Old Glory.

I fly atop the world's tallest buildings.
I stand watch in America's halls of justice.
I fly majestically over institutions of learning.
I stand guard with power in the world.
Look up and see me.

I stand for peace, honor, truth and justice.
I stand for freedom.
I am confident.
I am arrogant.
I am proud.

When I am flown with my fellow banners,
my head is a little higher,
my colors a little truer.

I bow to no one!
I am recognized all over the world.
I am worshiped - I am saluted.
I am loved - I am revered.
I am respected - and I am feared.

I have fought in every battle of every war for more than 200 years.
I was flown at Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Shiloh and Appamatox.
I was there at San Juan Hill,
the trenches of France,
in the Argonne Forest, Anzio, Rome
and the beaches of Normandy, Guam, Okinawa, Korea and KheSan, Saigon, Vietnam know me.
I was there.
I led my troops,
I was dirty, battle worn and tired,
but my soldiers cheered me
And I was proud.
I have been burned, torn and trampled
on the streets of countries I have helped set free.
It does not hurt, for I am invincible.

I have been soiled upon, burned, torn and trampled on the streets of my country.
And when it is by those whom I've served in battle - it hurts.
But I shall overcome - for I am strong.

I have slipped the bonds of Earth
and stood watch over the uncharted frontiers of  space from my vantage point on the moon.
I have borne silent witness
to all of America's finest hours.
But my finest hours are yet to come.

When I am torn into strips
and used as bandages
for my wounded comrades on the battlefield,
When I am flown at half-mast to honor my soldier,
Or when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving parent
at the grave of their fallen son or daughter,
I am proud.

MY NAME IS OLD GLORY
LONG MAY I WAVE.
DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN
LONG MAY I WAVE 

 

We'll Go Forward From this Moment

It's my job to have something to say. They pay me to provide words that help make sense of that which troubles the American soul. But in this moment of airless shock when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes, the only thing I can find to say, the only words that seem to fit, must be addressed to the unknown author of this suffering. You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard. What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward's attack on our World Trade Center, our Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would learn?  

Whatever it was, please know that you failed.

Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your cause.

Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve.

Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together.  

Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and quarrelsome family, a family rent by racial, social, political and class division, but a family nonetheless. We're frivolous, yes, capable of expending tremendous emotional energy on pop cultural minutiae -- a singer's revealing dress, a ball team's misfortune, a cartoon mouse. We're wealthy, too, spoiled by the ready availability of trinkets and material goods, and maybe because of that, we walk through life with a certain sense of blithe entitlement. We are fundamentally decent, though -- peace-loving and compassionate. We struggle to know the right thing and to do it. And we are, the overwhelming majority of us, people of faith, believers in a just and loving God.

Some people -- you, perhaps -- think that any or all of this makes us weak.

You're mistaken. We are not weak. Indeed, we are strong in ways that cannot be measured by arsenals.  

IN PAIN

Yes, we're in pain now. We are in mourning and we are in shock. We're still grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did, still working to make ourselves understand that this isn't a special effect from some Hollywood blockbuster, isn't the plot development from a Tom Clancy novel. Both in terms of the awful scope of their ambition and the probable final death toll, your attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of terrorism in the history of the United States and, probably, the history of the world. 

You've bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before. But there's a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making us fall. This is the lesson Japan was taught to its bitter sorrow the last time anyone hit us this hard, the last time anyone brought us such abrupt and monumental pain.

When roused, we are righteous in our outrage, terrible in our force. When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will bear any suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of justice. I tell you this without fear of contradiction. I know my people, as you, I think, do not. What I know reassures me. It also causes me to tremble with dread of the future. In the days to come, there will be recrimination and accusation; fingers pointing to determine whose failure allowed this to happen and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. There will be heightened security, misguided talk of revoking basic freedoms.  

We'll go forward from this moment sobered, chastened, sad. But determined, too. Unimaginably determined.  

THE STEEL IN US

You see, the steel in us is not always readily apparent. That aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don't know us well. On this day, the family's bickering is put on hold.  

As Americans we will weep, as Americans we will mourn, and as Americans, we will rise in defense of all that we cherish. So I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us? It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred.  

If that's the case, consider the message received. And take this message in exchange: You don't know my people. You don't know what we're capable of. You don't know what you just started.  

But you're about to learn.

-Leonard Pitts, Jr.
 Miami Herald

 

 

All graphics created by GSDana.  Images of September 11 devastation are copyright AP/Reuters and used without permission.  "We'll Go Forward From This Moment" is the copyright of the author of that fabulous piece, Leonard Pitts, Jr. and was published in the Miami Herald on September 12, 2001.  I have no permission to use this article, but it is the best thing I read in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and I use it with the utmost respect.  "I am the flag of the United States of America" author unknown. No profit is being made from this page.  May we someday rise above our hatred and learn to tolerate one another.