Four Years, And It Still Hurts

In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

Today, our nation and our people are commemorating the four-year anniversary of the horrific attacks on our country. Today, we stop and reflect over the evil that was done in the name of God, and it still hurts. I was blessed by not being directly affected by the terrorist attacks, but those whom I know personally have. Their pain is still very real. The pain of the families and friends of those who were lost is also still very real, and I suspect that the pain will not ever go away as long as they live and breathe on earth.

It has been four years, but the pain continues. American Muslims have been looked at with great suspicion, and many people – as well as their houses of worship – have been unjustly attacked. Even those who are not even Muslim – but may be mistaken for one because of a turban – have been murdered in cold blood. Muslim celebrities such as Yusuf Islam – formerly Cat Stevens – have been banned from entering our country because of false information, and our government does not have the courage to admit its mistake. So many Muslims still live in fear for their lives and livelihoods because of an act of evil with which they had nothing to do. Four years, and it still hurts.

I remember when President Bush said – as the smoke still billowed three days after the attacks – something to the effect of “And those who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” We all remember those comments. Well, those who knocked those buildings down were not in Iraq, yet we went there anyway to wage “the central front in the War on Terror.” After almost 2,000 American soldiers – our sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters – have been killed, more and more of us are asking – rightly – why we went there in the first place. For years, and it still hurts.

Four years have passed since that dark day in September, and everything has changed. The world has changed; alliances have changed; wars have been waged; people have been killed, and the innocent are frequently made the victim. Four years, and it still hurts.

I changed tremendously on that fateful day. For several years in my early adulthood, I suffered from the fevers of a sick religious fundamentalism, a blinding religious intolerance, a stifling self-righteous arrogance. I was just beginning to break free from the fever when the Pentagon and Twin Towers were struck. And as the buildings crumbled to dust – as I watched in horror on TV – my old self crumbled along with them. That did not hurt, however. The change that 9/11 helped bring in me has been wonderful for my spirituality, and I am forever grateful to the Lord.

Yes, it is pathetic that it took a monumental act of mass murder to garner the change. But a change had to take place, and like it or not, it took place on 9/11/01. That is the way it goes, I guess. But, I am trying to make the most of that change, and this blog is one of its fruits. I only hope and pray that I can help bring peace, love, and understanding to our world. I hope and pray that I can help avert a stupid and mutually destructive “clash of civilizations.” If I can do that, then the credit goes to the Lord, and those who died four years ago today – despite the pain of it – will not have died in vain.


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