How old is our Republic I lose track. Let's see 230+years more or less I think. I used to be really good at this sort of thing. These daze I just ain't as clear I guess. Well happy July 4th.
Anyway I love my country or at least I love what's it's been trying to be all this time. A place where everybody is okay, and things are going just peachy for he whole demented lot of us.
'Course this can never happen, but it's fun trying. Americans are good at that. Yeah sure we get pissed off have culture wars movements all sorts of mayhem, and noise, but at heart we're in this together despite wanting to blow each others brains out.
Every now, and then throughout our collective history we see how united we can be. In the last 70 years or so I'd say WW2, and the immediate days around 9/11 showed who we really were.
I wasn't around for the Pearl Harbor unity. Which was as racist as it was patriotic. However I was sure wandering around for all that 9/11 noise. We'd learned from before not to get all out of joint about race ethnic jazz, and religion this time 'round. Well mostly anyway.
I can tell you there was a really sincere warm sense of national unity like I've never experienced before or since. I so clearly recall sitting by the East River a few days after the attack. The air thick with the smell of burnt plastic, and rotten meat. That scent stayed around till spring.
Funny no one mentions that hardly. It stayed that smell all winter into the new spring.
Burnt plastic, and rotten meat.
I was sitting by the river on a park bench, and this Wall Street guy sat next to me. ...never knew his name nor he mine, but still. Class enemies to the core, but not that day. We talked about where we were what we did what we saw.
The fears that there would be more attacks. Perhaps a Nuclear suitcase bomb or some manner of dirty bomb perhaps a bio/chemical assault. You must remember this is what we expected back then.
My Wall Street friend said how he was arranging to send his wife, and kids to his parents in Iowa. He hoped they'd be safe there, but he didn't know.
I said I was a stone cold New Yorker, and would stick around. Also I had no kids, and for the first time was glad of it. I offered my hope that indeed his children would make it okay no matter what happened here.
We sat silently there for some time.
A lot of that went on all over the City indeed the country. We were all collectively in danger, and were standing together facing it down. It was a good feeling. I hoped it would continue. I remember media folks commenting the same
"Everything is different now it will never go back to the divisive way it was."
This was said often on TV, and radio at that time. Of course it did change back to the way it was. Partly human nature. Partly deliberate manipulation by the then administration to get us into a war with a country that had nothing to do with the attacks.
I remember after a while saying, "...when the cops shoot an unarmed black guy you'll know it's business as usual again.
It took eight days for that to happen.
Our dream of Unity, and peace between us faded, and eventually disappeared. So sadly it was mostly forgotten. It didn't come back till the Occupy Movement shined in the sun for a few months. That was interesting to be part of. Clearly people were hungry staving for the coming together we quietly missed so much.
How I wish that sense of common purpose, and mutual care could come back. How we Americans long for it.