I don’t know the answers, but I know who does

By: 
Walter L. Sprague, Arts and Culture Reporter

I’ve heard more conspiracies over what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, than I care to ponder. Controversy swirls about disasters in the Middle East since that time. The blame goes around about the many veterans and other American lives lost because of those incidents. 

Usually, when I stack one story against another, I find inconsistencies somewhere. I’m not wise or intelligent enough to wade through all the tales and pull out the facts and the fictions. Most of the stories, reports and so-called news about 9/11 and the wars that have followed are from a partisan standpoint. The truths get stained with either a liberal or conservative slant. 

Now, I make no bones about it: I’m a conservative through and through. But my ability to sling mud goes both ways. I don’t want to fling accusations toward the liberals and tell myself they are just out of touch or liars. Nor do I want to aim at radical conservatives and call them extremists or worse. I don’t think we will ever have all the facts concerning all the lives lost because of 9/11, nor will we ever get the full scope of why and how those attacks on America were perpetrated. Even if we did, I’m not sure I could handle the truth without a break in my mind to some extent. I believe it could be that ugly.

My own experience with 9/11 and the aftermath is a bit different. I contracted with a security company in California. It was owned by two Middle Eastern men, one from Pakistan and one from India. When you consider the tensions between those two nations for decades, I think it was a miracle that they could run a business together and were the best of friends. 

When the attacks happened, and Tower 2 fell, I called them up, and we talked about what we would do. Tower 1 fell during our conversation, and much about the Pentagon and United 93 also came to light. We decided to shut down for a couple of days, but almost immediately after that day many customers canceled. I tried to call some of them to reschedule and encountered hesitancy — and even hatred — in a couple of instances. 

It seemed to me that it didn’t matter that the two men who owned the business were American citizens. All the masses saw were Middle Eastern men, which was enough. On Sept. 10, the company stood in high regard with a reputation for attention to detail and quality service. After Sept. 11, they got lumped in with the terrorists because of their national origins. After almost a year of further struggle, the business was gone.

To me, that is atrocious and has shaped the way I think and feel about 9/11. I don’t just see an enemy, and that’s all there is. I don’t see politics the same way either. I recognize that there are enemies to the United States without, and many within. I don’t like them, or better yet, I don’t trust them. I want to see conservative ideas win, but I want those ideas based upon truth. I wish to see the logical clearcut solutions to our problems, and hope we possess the resolve to put action behind our words. 

I can’t stand knee-jerk reactions. They seem based on emotions, and I’ve seen what destruction can happen because of feelings. I think emotions are great road signs: danger ahead, sharp curves, falling rocks, etc. But I also think emotions are lousy maps. They somewhat tell you the road conditions, but they don’t tell you where to go.

On Sunday, Sept. 11, Newcastle held the second annual Freedom Festival out at the fairgrounds, and I was pleasantly surprised when four of the speakers struck me right where I live and think. 

To me, 9/11 is not a festival or a celebration, so I was hesitant to even go to this event. But afterward, I’m glad I did go, especially after hearing these four speakers. One prayed, and it was a prayer that brought tears to my eyes. The other three, as well as some others, spoke to my mind, not to my emotions. They got the focus back on track for me about what 9/11 should be about now — prayer. 

I feel as if I am not alone. This wasn’t a time to just bash the other side. These were not speakers who wanted to get even, decided to name call, came there to sling mud. They upheld the values of faith, family and prayer, mostly prayer. I don’t have the answers to our problems, and I know that. But I know who does have those answers. I think I’ll talk to him
about it.

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