Nation needs magic found in child’s eyes

Published 11:59 pm Saturday, September 10, 2011

Peering into the eyes of Rian Murphy — a 10-year-old girl who is the apple, orange, banana and peach of her uncle’s eye — it’s a bit difficult to fathom the circumstances into which she entered this world.

Her eyes are wide and curious; the future contained behind those eyes vast. She turns 10 on Tuesday, having been born during the worst time of our generation.

Look into those eyes and it becomes easier to not think of those circumstances when evil showed itself in its gravest form — 19 men trying to tear the fabric of this nation apart — but those events will forever be branded into our psyche.

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What happened after, though, is what we should hold on to. We were together. We were a nation. We were America.

We were on the same mission, coming together to make sure those born in that time would live in the world we live in. Each rendition of “God Bless America” and “America The Beautiful” brought tears of pride, anger, solace and resolve. We waved American flags, worked against a common opponent to reclaim what we lost on that horrible Tuesday morning.

Look forward 10 years, though, and can we say we are moving forward? Can we say we are as united under a comon cause as we were after 9/11?

Sadly, no.

The sentiments we all shared those months after 9/11 are nonexistent. The economy is in shambles. Our elected officials, especially on the national level, are a disgrace to their offices. The country elected its first black president in 2008 and yet racial divides are growing wider and wider.

It would be an outright shame to believe this country needs events such as 9/11 to open the collective eyes. This is one huge family, not immune to skirmishes and infighting, but now finds itself at a crossroads — permanent fracture or reconciliation.

Ten years have passed since hatred showed itself. There will be more attempts as long as we grasp that which makes us special and unique. We can bow our backs, find our toughness and repair the divisions.

Or we can continue to fight like children and throw our hands up in defeat.

In those 10-year-old eyes is still a sparkle. Rian will grow up learning about that day — and the days that followed. She’ll learn that when knocked down, Americans can rise up in unison under the red, white and blue and become one. How magical.

Sean P. Murphy is web editor. He can be reached at