I remember exactly where I was- like my mother remembers exactly where she was when Kennedy died. I was in a trailer, parked outside the back doors of Penn Charter, teaching 9th graders about The Odyssey. I wore a maternity blouse, blue button-down, and a black skirt. I was four months pregnant with Claire. I remember.
I, in a timely fashion, recently read an essay by Barbara Kingsolver called Saying Grace. She wrote it right after the 9/11 attacks. I would like to share with you her last paragraph. The rest is worth reading as well, if you can search it out.
I wish our national anthem were not the one about the bombs bursting in air, but the one about purple mountain majesties and amber waves of grain. It's easier to sing and closer to the heart of what we really have to sing about. A land as broad and green as ours demands of us thanksgiving and a certain breadth of spirit. It invites us to invest our hearts most deeply in invulnerable majesties that can never be brought down in a stroke of anger. If we can agree on anything in difficult times, it must be that we have the resources to behave more generously than we do, and that we are brave enough to rise from the ashes of loss as better citizens of the world than we have ever been. We've inherited the grace of the Grand Canyon, the mystery of the everglades, the fertility of an Iowa plain- we could crown this good with brotherhood. What a vast inheritance for our children that would be, if we were to become a nation humble before our rich birthright, whose graciousness makes us beloved.