Twelve years ago I was standing in the checkout line at Food Lion when someone said that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.
I remember thinking it sounded like a terrible accident and I would find out the details later. I knew it would be a tragedy for someone somewhere, but didn’t really expect it to have much effect on my life.
Even if I had known the full details of what had occurred, I could not have imagined what it would mean.
We all know how that awful day unfolded and how our world changed within a span of a few terrifying hours. Now I wake up every morning in a country that has been at war almost every day since.
It’s troubling to think that my daughter and all her friends and playmates have lived their entire lives in a time when war is the status quo.
We all have friends and family members who have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, often many times over. Too many of them did not return.
We have an entire generation of men and women who have endured the horrors of combat. Thousands have come home wounded and broken in body and mind.
We have mortgaged our country’s future financing these wars. We have undermined our Constitution to execute them and given away freedoms to build a wall of security around our nation.
We will be paying this bill of blood, money and moral compromise for another generation to come, if not longer. Yet it seems harder to tally what we have gained in the process.
So, 12 years later, here we are again. Let us think on the sacrifices of the innocents who were murdered and those who have gone to avenge them.
Before we plunge into another war in yet another unresolvable conflict, we should look back, but also ahead at the next 12 years. What will our world look like then?
Is it a world we want our children to live in? If not, what are we doing to make it so?