This is a momentary departure from screenwriting but it is NOT a political commentary. It's a people commentary. So please do not email me or post remarks about the various failures and corruption of people, offices, organizations and branches of government that justify cynicism, bitterness or unforgiveness in this country.
I don't care. Seriously. I don't.
What I have to say is not about the neglect, incompetence, lack of preparation, selfishness or blind eyed ineptness of people who have been called to respond in crisis situations. What I have to say is about how the rest of us respond to crisis situations.
In a nutshell -- we are a far better people during horrific events than we are when the crisis has subsided. Sad and true. We are better human beings when things go wrong.
We are not defined by the bad things that happen around us but by how we respond. We were an amazing people, a great people, following September 11 and Katrina and Reta and that nightmare tsunami. I don't wish woe on my fellow man just so people will grow charitable and selfless, but I miss the people of crisis mode America. We were unselfish, patriotic and non-partisan and seemed to possess a clarity of thinking that arises out of a necessity to protect or defend something or somebody we love.
In 1976, Rick Monday was playing centerfield for the Chicago Cubs in Dodger Stadium when two protestors tried to set an American flag on fire in left center. And then, YOINK! Monday snatched the lighter fluid soaked flag from beneath the two protestors as they were lighting the matches. No hesitation.
Free speech, you say? They had a right to burn the flag? Rick Monday exercised his own free speech as he snatched it away with no thought of the burns he might suffer. With the flag in Monday's hands, ever so gradually, the stadium broke out into a chorus of "God Bless America".
That's how we act when confronted with crisis. After September 11th, we gave unselfishly and sacrifically and sang "God Bless America" when and where we wanted regardless of what burns we might suffer for doing it on the courthouse steps or at the public school flag pole.
After Katrina, we opened our homes, churches, and wallets to strangers even if it meant making a late house payment and even if it meant that we might actually get had by a scam artist. Better to be had than turn our backs on a person in need. No hesitation.
There are a lot of things wrong with America. We know this. Has America earned our loyalty and respect in recent years? Maybe. Maybe not. But whether she earned it or not, I'd take a bullet for my mother just because she IS my mother. No hesitation.
How will you spend the five year anniversary of a day that ushered in unspeakable horror? Will you think about everything we've done wrong, point fingers, lay blame, relive the pain and disbelief? Or, will you remember the flag erected on the rubble of the World Trade Center, the people who died for no other reason than that they lived under that flag, and the lion hearted spirit and fortitude of the people that flag represents?
As for me, I know a guy at Walmart who will let me have the intercom long enough to sing "God Bless America".
How will you play this day?