This is an email that my dad sent to me on September 11.

It is about 5:20 PM on Friday, September 11th. it is a time to
reflect. I clearly remember both of you sitting at the kitchen counter with me after you
came home from school watching the television footage of the collapse of the twin
towers in New York City about this time eight years ago. It was, like you both said,
watching an action movie on television. I will never forget sharing those minutes with
you both of you; my Sons. Didn’t it  require some days to realize that it was not a
movie but was real? It did for me. One lesson to learn still is; use great care in your
lives. Be skeptical and know that great forces exist in this world which we cannot
control but must be wary of. A great Roman philosopher and politician said it best:
He who does not value his own life, controls yours. (Seneca was his name). How
true that remains some two thousand years after he said it. Remember Seneca’s
words, my Sons, in all that you do because people exist who mean you ill just
because you are you, not for what you have done or failed to do but know also that
you are deeply loved, valued and treasured in this world. Be safe, be careful. Love
always, Dad.

I remember the moment he is referring to, I remember sitting in class and watching the images on TV. It was like it wasn’t real like it was an effect created for a movie. A lot of things have happened in eight years, and some things have changed (TSA folks get to have an even more over-inflated sense of importance & GOP-encouraged racism against muslims) and some things haven’t (the security of our nation). We have been at war since well before my son was born. We have been at war since my sister in law was in the fifth grade, longer than she has been politically aware, and we have been at war so long that we have come to take it as normalcy. It is normal for american’s that we are fighting two wars, wars which most of them oppose.

One line in particular that stands out to me, and it is: “One lesson to learn still is; use great care in your lives. Be skeptical and know that great forces exist in this world which we cannot control but must be wary of.”