• Never apologize, and never, ever forget

Jefferson Weaver
Jefferson Weaver

We remembered a hard day this past weekend, and it hurt some folks’ feelings.
The stories began trickling out Monday — a college professor who said “white people” were obsessed with Sept. 11, 2001. A group of students who had designed a special tribute for a football game, only to be told minutes before the game that the other team “might be offended by the patriotic display.” A homeowner’s association that wanted all American flag displays approved before 9/11, and would only allow them to be displayed between dawn and sunset. Other taking heads are concerned that talking about the Taliban will paint all Muslims with a broadbrush of hatred (since individuals are despised by folks who worship groupthink).
I know folks in every community that these words reach each week who were at the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. I don’t mean they were passing by. I mean people who lost friends and relatives, who saw and smelled and heard the carnage most of us watched on television. People who breathed the dust as they fled down the New York streets, and several who didn’t flee, but headed into the monster. I know others who heard and felt the plane hit the building my grandfather and father played small roles in building, where my oldest sister used to work. I have no connection to Pennsylvania, where the first strike against the terrorists ended in a farm field.
My connections are tenuous at best; but as an American, my connections is still solid and strong with the events of that day.
All of us who were alive that day should be offended — but not at the mention of patriotism or the red, white and blue. We should be offended when milk-sopped spineless fruit bats who aren’t afraid to take advantage of all America offers want the rest of us to kowtow to them.
I never want the children who were too young to remember to forget what happened on Sept. 11, but I really want to see them taught what happened on Sept. 12.
I lived in a county seat at that time, what some folks call a small town, what others referred to as a city. On Sept. 12, as everyone reeled, the little church around the corner from our house opened its doors for anyone wanting some prayer time. There was nothing unusual about this — it was supposedly the oldest church in town, and the doors were regularly left open, sometimes daily, trusting in God and people’s honesty to make sure no mischief occurred.
There were rarely more than two folks there the whole day, but even as people were working and trying to figure out what to do and worrying and trying to reaasure each other, the simple little church had a handful of folks, then more, then God’s house was full of people praying for our country.
Down the street, there was a Palestinian who ran the convenience store. Ironically, he was a true first cousin of a fellow I called a friend who ran a similar store by our house in Wilmington. He kept me up to date on my buddy Rezq’s kids, who played Little League.
On that day, Omar hung a flag in his window. He told everyone that would listen that he loved this country and what it had done for his family. He begged people not to associate him with those people who stole airplanes and attacked his country, a country he’d called home since Iraq savaged Kuwait. This was now his country, and he was hurting, too.
With more zeal than common sense, my brother Mike and I assembled a flagpole out of scrap pipe and scavenged hardware in my mom’s front yard. It wasn’t pretty, but the flag my father flew from his front porch every day was high as the pecan tree, and easier to see for anyone who came by.
Speaking of flags — by evening on Sept. 12, there were  none left in stores in our town. They were all on porches, cars, trucks, new flagpoles, and store windows. 
But the work wasn’t all chest-beating.
People were organizing fundraisers, food, turnout gear, first aid supplies, and a myriad of other things to be loaded into trucks owned by a local company to be driven to New York over the coming weekend. Those trucks were on the road that Sunday while hundreds of us held hands with strangers in the civic center and sang and prayed. 
On second thought, we weren’t strangers. We were all Americans.
So no, I for one do not want to forget that day, as much as it hurt to watch our country get hit and hurt. I want every generation to know what happened, who did it and why. I want every generation to know what worked and what didn’t, from sending the best warriors in the world to shoot an evil man in the face, to when weak-blooded politicians threw out the baby with the bathwater.
I want future generations to be able to look at all of it, and make up their own mind — without being taught to be ashamed of the greatest country of the world.
I want them to remember 9/11, but I want them to remember 9/12, too, when strangers held hands and immigrants cried over their new home and flags were everywhere and Americans stepped up to help, somehow, anyway they could, because that’s what Americans do.
Anyone who’s ashamed of that, or finds it offensive — well, I feel sorry for them. They seem to have missed the point of liberty and justice for all.

About Jefferson Weaver 2168 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and he can be reached at (910) 914-6056, (910) 632-4965, or by email at [email protected].