>Piety and Patriotism

>It’s Patriot Day in the United States. And it’s been seven years since the infamous attacks of 9/11.

That day I arrived at the Edward Jones office where I worked and pulled the wire messages from the printer. The first to catch my eye was the one stating that the market opening had been delayed due to a “plane” crash involving one of the Twin Towers in the New York City financial district.

My broker turned on the television and we watched the second tower get hit and both of them collapse.

We also watched President Bush’s speach in response to the tragedy. When the president finished speaking, the broker turned to me and said, “Glenda, he’s going to turn their country into a parking lot.”

A special prayer service was held that evening at our church and at thousands of other churches across the land. The next day I, and thousands of other people across our land, purchased an American flag and hung it outside our home. It seemed that the actions of the terrorists had galvanized and unified the country in positive ways.

In those early days after 9/11, it felt eerie to look up and see no jet contrails in the sky. All air traffic had been stopped.

A few days after 9/11, just as limited air traffic resumed, we drove to Michigan for the wedding of my nephew. Traffic was heavy and we noticed many more plates than usual from far western and eastern states. People who would normally have flown to their destinations were driving instead.

The bride told us that one of the bridesmaids was able to get a flight, but her hair dryer was confiscated at the airport. She also told us they had decided to go ahead with the wedding as planned because if they cancelled their plans, “The terrorists win.”

That was the same thinking in our investment office and a few days later we held our evening chili feed and Open House as scheduled.

I confess my disappointment that the early fervency of piety and patriotism has faded. I confess my irritation at the increased security measures involved with air travel. But most of all, I confess that neither this country nor this world is my home.

I’m a patriot, but I’m far more a pilgrim.

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