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Thoughts on September 11th

I am a proud American and I have a lot of loyalty to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts but I also have a lot of feelings about patriotism and how we show it. My ways of showing patriotism are pretty simple, actually. I sing (badly) the National Anthem and I still get goosebumps when it comes to the line oh say does that start spangled banner yet wave. I place my hand over my heart with pride when I pledge allegiance to our flag. I place flags in my window boxes and buntings on my house on Memorial Day and leave them up until the 4th of July. I vote in every election.

On the other hand, you’ll never find me driving a pick up truck with an American flag flying from the back. I’m a local politician but I don’t wear a flag pin on my lapel every time I go out in public and I don’t think it’s mandatory to say “God Bless America” at the end of every speech. That’s what works for me. And, to use one of my favorite but probably overused expressions, you do you. Meaning, you show your patriotism your way and I’ll show it my way.

Today, of all days, let’s allow our patriotism to bring us together and not divide us. Let’s remember that clear blue sky of 17 years ago before our world was changed . . . before we were afraid to fly in a plane, before the start of the war on terror, before almost 3000 people were killed because of hatred, before the collective trauma of that day altered our lives in a permanent way.

Let’s not let those attacks, attacks designed to create fear and terror, define us as a nation. Instead, let’s remember how we acted in the days after the attack. We were scared but we were grateful. We hugged our kids and told them things that would make them feel safe. We told our partners we loved them. We reached out to our families and we called our friends. We turned off the televisions and we stood on the side of the road and we held candles and we stood tall.

We acted as one. Let’s do that again. Okay?

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. I tend more towards your brand of patriotism than these showy patriotic displays that tend to be about proving your level of patriotism. I’m especially offended by the pro sports leagues showcasing this after quietly taking money to do so. And some of those people wearing flag pins? What hypocrisy. Yep, your approach feels a lot more genuine.

  2. I agree. Like most things, I find that people who are always telling you how patriotic they are, are probably not when push comes to shove.

    But I wish we didn’t have events like this that tested it all. Since that is the way of the world, we just need to go on the best we can.

  3. It’s an odd symbol of patriotism, coming together, and acting as one, but I always remember the five-gallon buckets that fire fighters, emergency personnel, and volunteers used to try and clear rubble. Those long brigade lines of people working together with five-gallon buckets, trying to find survivors, were a poignant sight.

  4. Lovely sentiments, great advice. It’s really hard to believe it has been 17 years since this happened. Hold everyone close today in remembrance of those who no longer can.

  5. Wonderfully said, Carole – thank you! I still find it hard to believe 17 years have passed … so much has changed, but it doesn’t feel like it could’ve possibly been that many years ago.

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