Twelve years ago tragedy befell this nation in the form of what have come to be referred to as “the attacks on 9/11”. In the aftermath of that horrific event, the spirit of patriotism was renewed in this country and we came together as a nation to collectively mourn, to heal, and to prove that America’s dedication to freedom would not be diminished. And in that spirit we created this holiday of remembrance called Patriot Day.
Something else rose from those ashes, though: an unmistakable and unfortunate “Us vs. Them” mentality which, to me, casts a dark shadow over the spirit of unity that was born that day.
Love of this nation is about embracing the principles on which it was founded – freedom, liberty, justice. As well as, stated succinctly, the idea that man can choose his destiny, based on inalienable rights. Every man (and woman). Is it possible to call oneself a patriot if our personal concept of justice does not include every human being on the planet? If we do not consider our “nation” to include the world community?
Accepting the closed system of thought defined by the idea of our separateness shuts us off from compassion. It causes us to forget that We are Them. We are all Us. And in opening ourselves to this fundamental fact, our hope for justice, equity, and compassion in human relations – on a global scale – can be renewed.