Thirteen years after that awful, awful day, we pause to reflect upon the tragic loss we all experienced.
Over the years, on this anniversary, we’ve attempted to offer some thoughts on what happened. Of course, it’s always difficult to do, both because of the magnitude of our collective sorrow and the fact that there simply are no words which can truly capture our feelings about the effects of a national tragedy. On the tenth anniversary, we briefly noted:
There is no denying that we are a different country today than we were on September 10, 2001. And yet we are also the same country – a place where we have the freedom to disagree with anyone about any subject, openly and in public. Blogs like ours are not possible in many of the world’s countries, and we are thankful for the opportunity to express our opinions, and read the opinions of others, in a forum that sparks lively and at times heated conversations. We now have to take off our shoes before passing through metal detectors at the airport, and the purse searches at the ballpark are a little more thorough than they used to be. But we are still free to disagree with one another and, for that matter, our government. In that way, the attacks failed miserably to achieve their purpose. But on this day, on this anniversary of one of the greatest tragedies this nation has ever seen, we pause to reflect upon those who lost their lives that day and those who heroically came to the scene to respond to what had happened. They and their families remain in our thoughts and prayers.
Last year, on the twelfth anniversary, we prepared a lengthier post in which we recalled our own experiences in law school that day and wondered what it must have been like to be practicing law on that day.
Today, as we have done before, we turn to the words of Baylor School of Law professor Gerald Powell who, on at a commencement ceremony on February 9, 2002, shared these thoughts:
You can no longer focus on just yourself, on your career, or even on just your own family. More will be asked of you. As Americans, and especially as lawyers, you will carry with you great responsibilities. After September 11, each of you must be willing to stand guard over our liberty, to serve your country selflessly, and, if the need arises, be a hero.
Each of us must take our turn as sentinels. And as lawyers we have our own post to man. Our watch is over the Constitution. Our perimeter is the outposts of liberty. Our weapon is the law. Our mission is to see that justice is done.
[W]e also hope that each of you will have inside of you that seed of heroism perhaps dormant until a moment of truth, when it will spring forth in the energizing light of adversity to give us the hero we need. And until that time comes, or whether it ever comes, we hope and pray that you will act heroically in the conduct of your everyday lives, professional, public and personal.
As we make it through this difficult day, we’ll do our best and try to keep Professor Powell’s words in mind.