Greeson: A day when real conflicts should be recalled

Greeson: A day when real conflicts should be recalled

September 12th, 2017 by Jay Greeson in Opinion Columns

In this Sept. 11, 2001, file photo, smoke rising from the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center after hijacked planes crashed into the towers, in New York City. Every American of a certain age has a 9/11 story -- vivid memories of where they were, what they saw, how they felt on that awful day. Donald Trump is one of them. And for New Yorkers like him, 9/11 melds first-hand experience with what they felt in their guts, what they saw on television and what was playing out in the lives of friends and loved ones in a city under siege. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Monday, around lunchtime, I made a point to click on KZ 106.5 FM.

The longtime, fan-loved classic rock station paid its traditional classic tribute to the events of 16 years ago.

The national anthem played; it was hard not to be moved.

Disc jockey Kelly McCoy's taped message that has played over and over again since that unforgettable Tuesday 16 years ago spoke of honor and remembrance. To their credit, the folks at WSKZ have made it a point to do it every day since starting the tradition in the days after 9/11 before they go to their popular "all request" lunch hour.

Monday, it took me a moment before I got out of the car.

Sept. 11, for my generation, will be "that day" when we all knew where we were. It was life changing.

Jay Greeson

Jay Greeson

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

For the generations before ours, there was Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination and the moon landing. But for a lot of us, Sept. 11 is our "Where were you?" moment.

Now, 16 years later, in an era of confusion and social conflict that features the younger generation — the generation as concerned with global warming as global conflict — I can't help but wonder if the KZ 106.5 lunchtime message is lost in some ways.

The national anthem to far too many folks is now connected to a pregame protest among professional football players.

This is not to minimize the social and cultural issues facing our country. Those issues are real. Those issues deserve real deliberation and real leadership. (And in a lot of ways, it's fair to wonder if we have either of those — fair deliberation and real leadership — in our country today.)

Still, Monday was about a day that should have reminded all of us about the magnitude of issues and conflict, right?

Think of it this way: There are a lot of college students who believe our biggest issue may be Confederate statues or safe spaces on their campuses.

Sixteen years ago Monday, we were forced to realize how much the world hates our freedom and way of life.

But real-life issues and real life-and-death issues should never be confused, and a morning after the worst terrorist attack of my lifetime, that distinction should not be underestimated.

Whether you think Robert E. Lee is the devil or whether you have three colors of "Make America Great Again" hats, know this: The next attack on our soil — like Dec. 7, 1941, or Sept. 11, 2001 — will not discriminate between its victims.

If we are going to remember 9/11 going forward, we should remember that we are all Americans. Ds or Rs. Black or white. War Eagle, Big Orange or Roll Tide.

This morning — a day after we paused to pay tribute to those lost in the 9/11 attacks — we should remember that more than ever.

As much as we want our point to be accepted or as much as we want our side to win, we as Americans are ultimately on the same team.

That position seems harder by the day.

But yesterday — the 16th anniversary of 9/11 — that day made me, for one, remember the pain we all felt.

All of us — Americans one and all.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com and 423-757-6343.

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