Not the ‘B’ side of the Johnny Rivers’ hit, “Summer Rain.” “Memories of the Coming Good” was a repetitive instrumental. I don’t know why it was even used or why I even remember it but for some reason the title spurred a memory as I thought about the 9/11 attack that occurred nineteen years ago.
Maybe it was the other way around. Maybe it was memories of 9/11 and the aftermath that spurred the memory of a bad song with a great title.
As I look back on the days and weeks after 9/11, for a moment in time, the aftermath became Memories of the Coming Good. The memories of the way Americans pulled together…pulled together regardless of race, creed, color, or political standing. For a brief time, there was one goal…to recover from our mourning, to overcome what had happened. To rise Phoenix-like from the ashes of Ground Zero.
We awoke the next day to a different world…a world that has become even scarier over the past nineteen years. Still, for a period of time we were united.
I wish our country could go back to the day after. Not the actual day but to the unity, the purpose.
I wish we could return to the way the country rallied behind New York, behind the first responders, behind the country, behind the people lost and injured, behind their families. Americans rallying to each other, for each other. Americans willing to sacrifice for the coming good.
In the years since his presidency, I’ve become a George W. Bush fan. Not so much George Bush the President, but a fan of the man himself. I’m a fan of the way he reacted and a fan of the way he responded in those dark days following the attack. I knew he was hurt just as much as New York and the rest of the country. His pain was as real as the rest of ours.
I remember his bullhorn speech standing atop the rubble at Ground Zero. He was a calming anodyne and you knew we would recover. We would be okay.
He was a man who might stumble in the ways he reacted or possibly overreacted, but you knew where his heart was. His heart was on his sleeve for all to see and it bled red, white, and blue. We knew he had been stabbed in the heart just like the rest of the country.
I wish I still had those feelings of a coming good. I wish I had the joy I felt when Osama bin Laden was run to ground. It was a measure of justice for what we had lost.
Until recently, Americans have always rallied around the common good when times were dire. Before I was born, the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor and World War Two, 9/11 and natural disasters after I was born. We rallied. We responded. We overcame.
To quote FDR, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” I think we have forgotten that. We have found our fears and allowed them to rule us.
We move from conspiracy theory to conspiracy theory, putting our faith in QAnon or Revelationist, creating reasons to be fearful when there are real dangers to be addressed and overcome, reasons to worry there is no coming good ahead of us.
I wish we were not so divided. I wish we could rally to each other as we did after 9/11 and no I am not wishing for something catastrophic to give us a reason to rally. If a pandemic with nearly two hundred thousand dead, wildfires raging on the west coast, devastating weather, demonstrations for social justice, and looting in our major cities cannot rally us, I do not want to consider what might.
There is still time to rally ourselves, but time is running out. Our memories can be of a coming good or not. It is for us to decide…if not for us, for our children and grandchildren.
As we remind ourselves of what this solemn day represents, take a moment to think. Think about not only our losses but our responses. Think about our rallying, think about the memories of a coming good.
Don Miller’s author’s page can be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM?fbclid=IwAR3-0ovpLqEZAnuKfEmXu0e8AGiMnEE1zS31TkH6pZhaMz5-3OqZz_A_Fh4
The image used is courtesy of USAToday.