It's an anniversary day. Six years ago I parked my motorcycle at Troutdale Airport preparing to begin a routine work day. A man from another company at the airport whom I'd never met approached from his car in the next parking lot. "Have you had the TV on this morning?" he asked. "No," I replied. "I always read the paper." "Might want to do that," he advised. "World Trade Center's been attacked. We're at war."
Inside, a couple of early arrivals had the radio on. Both towers in flames. The first one collapsed. A few minutes later, the second. What did this mean? Work started at 7:30 AM, PDT. Workers slowly went about their tasks. About 9 AM as I walked through the shop I noticed it. They all looked "dazed and confused." It only took me a few minutes to decide and I immediately cleared it with the General Manager. I went around to each employee. "At 10 o'clock break I'll have a prayer time in my office. Everyone is welcome." I didn't know if anybody would show up. Turns out the whole company did, even front office staff. Phones weren't ringing much anyway. We met for prayer and sharing of concerns for the next seven work days. It was the right thing to do.
But how to feel about all of it? Confused and conflicted seemed to be pretty standard. Over the next weeks and months "Proud To Be An American" signs and bumper stickers sprouted everywhere. The phrase never quite did it for me. If "pride goeth before a fall", should pride be what I felt? If pride wasn't it, what did I feel, what should I feel? It took six months to sort it out, but it was something deeper than pride. As a veteran and loyal citizen I felt something way deeper than pride.
Deeper Than Pride
More than mountains, oceans, rivers, the rain.
More than cities and highways, quiet plains.
More than the red, the white, the blue that is dyed
onto the banner that waves like the grain...
More than anthems played by marching bands,
or star spangled chords of memorial choirs
More than the skirl of the lone piper's drone
More than I feel when the flowers are dried--
those tears yet unshed for all who have died
Far more than we could ever ask of each other
yet what we unexpectedly do every day,
It's a feeling way deeper than pride.
America, good land of brave and the free
Conceived an ideal for the world--our Miss Liberty
bearing her torch night and day just off the Manhattan shore
Welcoming peoples and tongues, hopes, dreams and more,
families praying their children will know nevermore
the fears they have sought to finally flee.
It's more than we attain, achieve, or even claim to be,
ideal far higher than we dare strive!
It is a feeling way deeper than pride.
Freedom is won solely by laying it down, setting it free
by citizens, soldiers, teachers, parents-to-be,
Rescuers giving freely on our behalf the ultimate prize
God bless these things in us, O set them joyously free!
Rebuild in us compassion, a lust for justice, hunger for liberty,
Rebuild! Yes, rebuild, rebuild, rebuild!
"Rebuild and rebuild and rebuild," I cried,
rebuild in us that feeling
of a nation way deeper than pride!"
Have a blessed day of rebuilding,