Opinion: There is a lady crying in the harbor, a reflection on 9/11

Opinion: There is a lady crying in the harbor, a reflection on 9/11

EDITOR’S NOTE — The following reflection was written on Sept. 14, 2001, three days after the 9/11 attack. TAB shares it today, the 19th anniversary of the attack, to honor the thousands of lives lost and thousands more changed forever as a result.

By John Giles
Luverne, Ala.

Her name is Liberty, and she is a 22-story tower of strength overshadowing the New York Harbor.

She symbolizes to the world the best in freedom and democracy. Through the course of time she has greeted millions crossing onto her soil from abroad with a hearty welcome to the land of the free and home of the brave.

Until now, her interior borders, blanketed and protected by two great oceans, have never been perpetrated by foreign missiles. But as she turns the page of a new century, those claims of freedom have been shaken. Today her tears fill the rivers of her great land.

Her neighborhood in Manhattan still hemorrhages with pain, tears and suffering while an untold number of the missing members of her family lay covered in a grave of mortar and steel.

As she greeted the crisp freshness of the early fall morning of September 11th, little did she know what plans were underway to take her down. Only time will reveal the full mission of her adversaries, but her own foundation was shaken as innocent means of transportation were suddenly turned into well orchestrated and efficient lethal weapons of mass destruction only seen before animated on movie screens.

Her president found himself one minute domestically focusing on the education of our children and only moments later mysteriously swept away in the flying command center as he swiftly managed several hours of chaos. Her commander-in-chief crisscrossed the country while these assailants of democracy attempted to destroy her financial stability and military power.

She weeps way into the night with the children whose moms and dads will not be there to kiss, embrace and tuck them in bed. She hears the echoes of wailing from spouses and loved ones globally grieving from the depths of their souls. Her heart aches, pierced by a gulf of unanswered questions, broken cell phone calls and clear final messages of love and farewell left on answering machines.

Hope remains

Although her tears will forever tarnish her copper brow and cheek, this lady stills stands.  She reminds us all of the words penned by Francis Scott Key, “…gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”

This lady, who represents all of what we call America, will hardly view this as her final day.

Today her face is pointed in the wind as a flint, her shoulders are square, and she is on a providential mission to seek justice, heal and restore. She can only accomplish this insurmountable feat because this land she represents is “one nation under God, indivisible.”

And so this great lady says goodbye to all of those who have fallen. She salutes, as if to signal “until we meet again.” We are reminded that one day, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away.”

“God, bless America, stand beside her and guide her,” for Your stabilizing hand insures she will prevail.