Today is September 12. The day after the day that everyone says they "remember."
What do you remember about September 12, 2001? What did you do? Where did you go? Where were you? I can tell you where I was, what I did, what I felt.
Folks talk about "commemerating" 9/11 by doing something "special", be it a special prayer for those who died, or by taking a moment of silence. Others cook food for their local fire station, pause to say "Hey, thanks" to an EMT or a cop, or they fly an American Flag from their front porch.
I don't "commemerate" 9/11. Commemeration is too close to celebration, and there's nothing to celebrate about the day that a dozen or so people decided to kill several thousand humans, who made the unfathomable mistake of simply showing up for work.
I won't "commemerate." I won't. You can.
Nor will I change my life because of 9/11. I didn't change it then, I won't change it now. On Setpember 12, 2001, I did the same thing I did on September 10, 2001: I woke up, showered, grabbed a bite to eat from my local deli, and went to work. I was in Atlanta back then, working the ambulance, running calls, giving help to people who needed it -- and some who didn't really need help -- and loving every minute of it.
Back on September 10, 2001, I was into things like being with my pals, having a cold beer while watching a ball game, taking the guns to the range for some target practice, chasing girls, working hard, saving what money I could spare, spending the money I could spare, and generally living a good life.
I wanted what most people wanted: A house, where I could have my family life in as much safety as I could provide. I wanted a chance to work at a good job that paid well. I wanted to live my life, with nobody telling me how to go about my day. I wanted to be able to go to chuch if I wanted, or to not go to church if I didn't want.
What I did NOT want was a country where a WWII Fighter Pilot (and an Ace at that) was detained because he tried to bring his MEDAL OF HONOR onto an airplane. I did NOT want a country where people were allowed to grope your genitals and those of your child in the interest of 'safety'. I did NOT want a country where Congress passed a "Patriot" act that allowed law enforcement nearly unlimited access to your personal information.
I hear people talking about how we shouldn't hate. "Hatred doesn't heal", they say. Which is generally true. So I won't hate.
Instead, I pity. I pity those who would do my country harm.
I pity the person who thinks it's in his best interest to take up arms against the United States of America. Our military has provided more humanitarian aid to more people for more years than any other single entity in history, but make no mistake, Jack: You point a gun at a US Marine, and that Marine will shoot you down.
I pity the person who thinks that it's MY job to make sure someone of a different ethnicity, or a different religion, or a different socio-economic background feels welcome and has a good job and plenty of money. I worked hard for what little I have. They can do the same.
I pity the person who is so shallow minded that he thinks that all the problems America faces can be solved by simply giving our enemies a hug and "embracing diversity." To be so simplistic in one's thinking would be painful.
I pity the person who comes to my home, thinking that they can tell me how I should feel and how I should act and how I must obey certain agreed upon norms. My mother spent 20 years trying to tell me how to act. She didn't have a lot of success, and neither will you.
I pity the person who thinks that their desires and wants and beliefs are better than mine.
I woke up the day after the worst attack on American soil and I went about my day like I normally did. I'll continue to do so, and I won't apologize for it.
Why? Well, because living well is the best revenge. And I plan to get my revenge.
September 12... Remember that.