Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering 9/11, Thirteen Years Later

Our oldest son was a senior in high school on September 11, 2001.  In his valedictory speech on his graduation day in June of 2002, he mentioned the tragic event that forever scarred the hearts of  all Americans.  In part, here is what he said:

 ...this year we looked on in disbelief on September 11th as innocent lives were taken by the evil of terrorism.  The pain we felt...was acute, but strength is often forged in the fires of misfortune...through the 9/11 tragedy, I hope, we learned to respect and protect life, every human life. 

It is this that our society needs most today.  Our society's moral values have been in a downward spiral for quite a while, and this trend shows no sign of getting better unless there is a change in the way we think.  At the heart of this moral decline is a cheapening of human life.  Pope John Paul II has called this the "Culture of Death."  Choices once unanimously considered criminal and rejected by the common moral sense are gradually becoming socially acceptable.  One of the tragic consequences of this trend is abortion.  The amount of abortions performed in this country is truly staggering.  Each day, more pre-born human lives are lost to abortion than the total death toll in the 9/11 tragedy.  This moral conditioning has also spawned assisted suicide and euthanasia and now human cloning experimentation is a reality.  To quote our Pope, "conscience itself, darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning, is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life."

Our country has lost sight of the very value of every human person and has thrown away morals for convenience.  We see the evil of terrorism executed by other countries, and so take the focus off the evils that plague our own country.  We must look at our problems within before we can begin to alleviate problems without.  The biggest problem in our society is indifference.  As the Italian poet Dante Aligheieri said, "The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in a time of great crisis."  We must keep our convictions strong and fight against the tide of indifference that is washing over our country.

There was more--and the topic was one that was not suggested by my husband or me; this speech was entirely of our son's making.  We only helped him by reminding him that he should thank certain people in the introduction.  I also remember telling him that perhaps he should substitute one adjective.  He'd written, "The amount of abortions performed in this country is truly disgusting," and I thought "staggering" might be a preferable adjective to use in the setting of a graduation ceremony: it was strong enough get the point across without making any pro-choice listener in the crowd tune out.  But otherwise, this speech was his baby.
I've always been proud of this kid;
but that day, I was bursting with it.
As you can see, it was a vehemently pro-life speech--which should have made the audience erupt into a rousing standing ovation at its conclusion, seeing as how this was a Catholic high school and all; but it elicited the regulation amount of applause, and no more.  And sadly, the "brave" and "controversial" (???!!!) content of the speech made some of our longtime friends--parents of our son's classmates--avoid commenting on it.  Where even a generic, topic-skirting comment like "You must be so proud," or "He sure did a nice job" would have been warranted, we got the sound of crickets.

One thing our terrorist enemies are not is pro-life.  They have absolutely no respect for human life at any of its stages.  They don't even have respect for their own lives, as they are more than willing to sacrifice them, or the lives of their women and children, in order to carry out their hateful anti-Christian mission.

Shouldn't we, as Christians, show a greater respect for human life than the terrorists?  And if we do, shouldn't we be appalled and deeply saddened by the daily slaughter of countless pre-born human beings?  Someday in the future, won't our silent acceptance of abortion be looked at with as much horror as the silence of the witnesses to the Nazis' ruthless elimination of millions of Jews (whom they thought were less than human, as many believe fetuses are)?

Well, I've gotten off-track here...or have I?  For isn't the whole story of 9/11 a story of one group's violent, inhumane treatment of another--and aren't pre-born human babies trapped inside a womb where they are considered the enemy just like those poor victims trapped inside the Twin Towers?  If we don't celebrate and protect every human life, especially the lives of the most vulnerable among us, are we any better than the terrorists?

On the 10th anniversary of that history-changing tragedy, I wrote a blog post called "Remembering 9/11."  It says pretty much all that I would say again, if I wrote a new post about it.  The only thing to add is that it's been thirteen years now, and the pain is still raw.  Worse yet, the threat of a similar incident lives on.  God bless us all, each and every one of us--no matter how small.  And God bless America.


  1. I am and always will be proud of your boy (boys)! They have morals and stand behind them. No matter if someone agrees with his beliefs or not, they should have been impressed with the valedictorian speech he gave. It sounds like it was well written and well said!

    1. Of all your blog posts that I've read, this is my absolute favorite. No wonder you were bursting with pride; I have a feeling there were saints in heaven applauding that day. Thank you for sharing this here. We have indeed "thrown away morals for convenience." May God help us all.

    2. Nancy, that reply was for Rini--who is actually my sister. :)

  2. Ooops - didn't mean to put the above in the "reply" box :) !

    1. Nancy, thank you! We really were so incredibly proud of him for choosing to forgo the usual "commencement is not an end; it's the beginning of a whole new chapter" routine and tackle a subject with so much meat to it--and one so vital to the future of his generation and their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren...

      The administration was behind him, and the principal and several of the teachers told us how awesome they thought our boy's speech was. But some of them also called it "brave," and I thought that was a sad thing. After all, aren't all Catholics supposed to champion the unborn? If you can't talk about the pro-life cause without fear of recrimination at a Catholic school, then where can you? It still causes me pain to remember this one couple in particular who seemed to make it a point NOT to comment on the speech. Their silence spoke volumes.

      I remember saying to my husband that if our firstborn did nothing else of note in his life, that valedictory speech might have been the one thing he was put on this earth to do. I thought maybe it was the reason God made him so bright, so that he could have the opportunity to give it. Of course, he's gone on to marry a wonderful girl, produce three adorable little daughters (with hopes of more children to come, God willing), and to serve this country in the Army with two year-long deployments to war zones. So obviously, God wasn't done with him yet!