September 11, 2001, I walked down the stairs of our row house on Shaler Lane in Cambridge intending to walk to class at Harvard Law School. Instead, I stood helplessly agape at the TV screen trying to comprehend how a plane would hit one of the Twin Towers. Moments later I watched as the second plane hit the second tower. I left immediately to get Madeline from her elementary school. I also began calling my mother who, at the time, had an office on the Mall in DC. I would not be able to speak to her until the next day.
At 3 years old, my son Jon was incapable of comprehending what was happening but he most certainly sensed the our collective horror. Madeline, 6, knew something was gravely wrong but I was, for the first time in her young life, unable to offer an adequate explanation or assuage her fears. Walking home, we watched military helicopters fly over the Charles River. Our fears escalated to include concern for the well being of our neighbors, friends, and my classmates when we learned the jets left from Boston’s Logan International Airport.
We lost heroes that day who ran towards death. We must not forget what they died for. Many of the police officers and firefighters many Americans denigrate on the daily were cut from the same cloth as those heroes. I’m not saying we can’t strive for solutions or can’t make things better and more fair for those who evidence suggests the existence of a systemic bias. But we can strive for those solutions without holistic denigrations of public service and this Great Nation.
America is both great and beautiful. Of course, we can do better. Let’s do better together not by tearing it all apart.