September 11th, 2001, wasn’t that long ago.  …And what remains?  I can remember where I was when I learned of the attack. I can recall how I felt. I recall some of the conversations I had with strangers, for I was traveling that week just over two decades ago.  I won’t forget the surge of patriotism and unity we experienced as a nation, as we were clad with the cloak of what appeared to be righteousness, if even for a short time.

We banded together against an enemy that sought to take from us our dignity, sovereignty, and our sense of safety.  These were not things they wanted for themselves, but rather, things they simply didn’t want us to have, hold valuable, or revere.

And today?  Some might say they see an enemy in every direction, some of them fellow Americans.  Brother and sisters, I love are among them.  Can anyone chart for me the moment, or even the path, that led to our place now?  I often wonder when we’ll stop trying to perfect the imperfectible.  Man is flawed.  Man makes laws, rules, and regulations.  Thus, man’s laws, rules, and regulations are flawed.  Some terribly, some only minutely, but flawed nonetheless.  Or, in many cases, the interpretation and practice of man’s law deny the context and original intent of the lawmakers that erected such a thing.  That trends to the heart of the matter for me.  As it should for you.

I see the nations we endeavored to free and the stranglehold of tyrants abroad now punishing women for wishing to finish school, anyone not of a singular religion cast out as lepers or worse, and door-to-door confiscation of firearms to remove the ability to resist authoritative rule.  And if anyone has already forgotten the human beings so yearning to escape such living hell, that they’d grasp ahold of a moving aircraft on the chance they could cling to life only to plummet to their deaths as their literal grip to life slipped, shame on you.  Does the image of men and women plunging to their end from the twin towers come to mind?  Quite a parallel.

And what have we learned?  Did we learn to turn the other cheek when we were wronged?  Did we help first and accept help from others?  Have we elevated the needs of others over those of ourselves?  Maybe, for a time.  But I strain to see it these days.

If the gratuitous killing of thousands in a grotesque act can unite a country, cannot love and care?  Even those with stark differences can love one another.  Or have we abandoned such practices?  Mind you, practices stem from thought.  Thus, we’ve made up our minds to no longer love one another, if I’m to glean the mean, median, and mode of our culture properly.

But can we not correct our trajectory?

9/11 is one of the most horrific tragedies to befall this nation in my time.  But, rather than solely dwelling on the loss, tragedy, and fallout, I seek to consider it also as a cautionary tale.  Whenever a body, whether individually, as a group, organization, or even a country, embraces the wholesale removal of liberty in an effort to deprive others of autonomy, it must be met with stern conviction and stamina by those who would salvage freedom.

And in our case, we must both seek to be the light of the world and the salt of the Earth, for our autonomy touches others, theirs also ours.  If we do this well, we can avoid a future 9/11.  And we’ll elevate our culture along the way.  But we must think first, act second, and risk the uneasy platform that is freedom.  TRUE FREEDOM is not freedom FROM responsibility, but rather, freedom OF responsibility.  Decipher carefully what responsibilities you’re willing to accept and carefully court them.  We’re bound to the consequences of the choices we’ve made.  Choose wisely.

In Libertatem,

Michael Ware