From the first line of the Constitution the United States: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
And today, the Federal Government boldly fulfilled one of its directives and purposes to 'provide for the common defense', by killing Osama bin Laden. Arguably, this is the clearest of the Federal government's responsibilities.
I am not as elated about this event as the young revelers at Time Square. I am a little older and a little less willing to rub victories in our enemies' faces. Osama bin Laden has shaped my life in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Knowing that I am hated just because of my place of birth, race, and religion is unsettling - no doubt.
The first time I encountered this kind of thinking was as a college student on the UT campus when I heard Lewis Ferricon say that all white people should be eliminated. What? Me?
Hatred appeared again later when bin Laden attacked and destroyed the Wall Street district hotel my husband and I had stayed in just a year before. My husband proposed to me at the Statue of Liberty in 2000. I married on September 1, 2011 (the other 911 as my husband calls it) and 12 days later honeymooned and worked on a Mediterranean Cruise for Western CPE.
I was on the first plane leaving Dallas for Paris after the attack. I was sick with worry, but in Paris, i started to normalize again. The French we encountered could have cared less what American's had experienced just three days before. They were as rude and unaffected as always. And as we visited historic site after historic site, I realized how protected and safe we Americans really were. In Malta, the church we visited was bombed by the Nazis on Sunday morning. In Rome, we saw the ruins of the temples of one of the greatest civilizations in the world. And it helped us all to see how 911 fit into a bigger world history of struggle and hatred and destruction.
Business took me to Manhattan when I was pregnant with my first child. Again, we stayed in the Wall Street district. The first night of my stay, my husband and I were awakened by the fire alarm at 1 a.m.. We were 30 floors up. I have never been so terrified. It ended up being nothing - but terrorism had clearly left its tattoo on my psyche.
Friday, my family watched a silly kids movie that featured the Twin Towers. McCauly Caulkin was on the roof, soaking in the glory of New York City and I put my finger to my mouth to keep my husband from telling the girls about what happened to those towers. We will have to explain it to them soon enough when we visit Manhattan this summer. Or maybe we won't. They might still be too young to find out how far hatred can go.
I'd like to believe that we can all hold hands and 'teach the world to sing in perfect harmony" but that doesn't work well when someone in your love circle would like to see you wiped off the planet.
I am glad that someone powerful who hates me and seeks to destroy me and my family is dead. And for this, I can thank the federal government who fulfilled their mission to provide "for the common defense." Thank you, thank you, thank you.