Among the things I’m remembering from two years ago today is that the first decisive battle against Islamic fascism was fought in the skies over Pennsylvania. As soon as the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 learned what had happened at the World Trade Center earlier that morning, they organized themselves and took on the hijackers, knowing it would mean almost certain death for themselves but also knowing it could save the lives of countless others.
Since then, I’ve thought a lot about what I would have done had I been on that flight on that morning. I hope I would have had the courage and clear-headedness to act as those ordinary, amazing passengers did. Also (perhaps unfairly) I can’t help wondering how people like Noam Chomsky and George Galloway would have behaved. I hope that even for them, the impulse to save the lives of others on the ground would have triumphed over every other consideration.
For me the most meaningful passage in the Bible is Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
I suppose one of the ways I’ve changed in recent years is in understanding that there are times for all of these things– and not, much as I might prefer, for only half of them.