Remembering 9/11

As I paused to remember the fallen heroes of September 11, I am reminded that just 3 days later I began drafting one of my first essays.  The Sound of Security has not been seen except by a few people before today.  I hope that you enjoy it.

The Sound of Security
By Nelson Spear

     I remember hearing my mother do the dishes after I was tucked into bed at night as a child. The clattering of those plates and cups in the sink would reach my ears regardless of how many blankets I piled on top of me. But, as irritating as it was, that grating noise from the kitchen was security to me. I knew that I was not alone and that my mother was there to protect me. I could rest without any fear. I was secure.

In times like these, I begin to wonder where my security lies. After all, these are uncertain times. I was not prepared for the events of September 11 when the airplanes were hijacked by terrorists and purposefully flown into the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon. And if it were not for some heroic acts of some passengers on a fourth airplane, another major landmark would have been hit.

I know my reaction to such events really helps me get to know myself. I was numb. And even though I, as a Christian, have a Biblical explanation to the age-old question: How could God allow something like this to happen? Shouldn’t I have an automatic peace? Shouldn’t I really know that God is in control and that no weapon formed against us shall prosper? I should know these things, but they are very hard to live by especially when the peace does not come within the first five minutes after my one-minute prayer.

Then one Sunday afternoon, the light came on. Earlier in the afternoon, my son and I had gone to the hardware store to find a flagpole for one of the numerous American flags that I had collected over the years. You see, I had touted myself as this patriotic guy urging all people to vote: even those who did not agree with me. I have written letters to the editor, helped political candidates raise funds, volunteered on voting day. Heck, I have even attended a couple of national political conventions. But, up to that point, I never had taken the time to fly Old Glory. I don’t think it was laziness as much as it was that I didn’t see the need to fly her. After all, that job was being taken care of. All of our government offices flew her as did some of my friends’ parents. To me, it was something that should be done, just not by me – right then.

After we got back from the hardware store, my wife, my son and I all had a hand in figuring out the best way to display our flag. It was a beautiful afternoon. There was no breeze. After a few failures, we finally came upon the best solution. When we were done, we stood on the deck and said the Pledge of Allegiance. There she stood. Not swayed by anything.

My patriotic duty done, I decided to take a Sunday afternoon nap. Not long after I fell asleep I was slightly awakened by an unfamiliar sound — a flapping sound. I went back to sleep and awakened an hour later to realize that a strong breeze had come up. It was whipping the flag fiercely. But as I gazed at Old Glory from my bedroom window, I saw a beautiful sight. There she flew, as strong and resilient as ever. Then amazement overtook me – the American flag, the symbol of our country finally meant something personal to me.

You see, Old Glory at rest showed me that nothing in history could move her. But Old Glory in action, when the wind tosses her to and fro, shows me something more powerful. Like our nation, when Old Glory is challenged by the winds of adversity, her strength is revealed. Winds of strife have blown brutally through our nation for more than 200 years, yet democracy has always stood strong. Though challenged by civil war, it stood. Though challenged by assassinations of our presidents and civic leaders, it stood. Though challenged by scandal, it stood. And though challenged by terrorist attacks, democracy still stands.

So, where do I find security during these uncertain times? In the same way I was reassured by the sound of those clanging dinner dishes, I find security in the sound of Old Glory flapping in the wind. You see there is nothing quite like the sound of a flag that is buffeted by the wind. I am secure in knowing that our country will prevail through this challenge and the ones yet to come because I can hear with my own two ears that our flag is still there.


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