As the nation commemorates the terrible day of Sept. 11, 2001, there are lessons one can reflect upon through this American tragedy.
One of these lessons is temporal, the other religious. One contains a principle found in general nature, the other is uniquely found in human nature as being essentially spiritual as well as bodily.
Nineteen years ago, America was attacked from within by an external enemy who infiltrated from without. It's one of those times when everyone remembers where they were at the time they heard it happened. There haven't been many of those moments in American history when Americans collectively remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when something happened. Many remember years, even decades, after the incident, as if time stopped for moment.
For those old enough to remember, the JFK assassination was one of those incidents.
Perhaps some recall the Beatles debuting on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Certainly memorable was the first man on the moon, when Neil Armstrong uttered the famous line: "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Although he'd be excoriated today for using such politically incorrect verbiage, it will be etched in America-lore for as long as we remain a country.
Perhaps the Challenger explosion was another one of those incidents.
I also remember where I was when Tom Brokaw announced the Supreme Court decision effectively making George W. Bush the 43rd president of the United States.
Many remember exactly where they were when they first heard of the Roe v. Wade decision, legalizing abortion, as well as Obergefell v. Hodges, legalizing same-sex "marriage."
On Sept. 11, 2001, after decades of internal attack from secular humanism, America took a punch that landed her on the ground. Before the referee counted to 10, she was up again. But the country has never been the same.
September 11 points to a general principle. Weakened individuals, groups or nations are more vulnerable to attack. It's common sense, but we tend to forget this.
As we know from experience, nobody — individual or corporate — can withstand sustained attacks whether they emerge externally or from within. This is why human beings have armies and hospitals. We seek protection and healing from such external and internal threats to health and life.
As Cain quickly found out, since man has fallen from grace and left the perfection of paradise, the threat of hatred, fear and violence has become omnipresent. Similar to the individual, when a nation is spiritually strong it can withstand — and is protected — from many such threats. When the secular humanist onslaught began to permeate the Western world with the sexual revolution in the 1960s and '70s, the nation's strength began to wane. It was a few decades of internal weakening after that before America was severely attacked on 9/11.
Everyone remembers the heightened religiosity experienced in America after 9/11. Churches were full. Neighbors reached out. Police were not disparaged as they are now but were greatly honored — as were firefighters and other first responders. Along with priests, they were the ones who ran into the burning buildings, and many never came out.
Unfortunately, unlike post-WWII, the spiritual fervor didn't last long. But since the human soul was made for God, a substitute began filling the void. Secular humanism evolved into progressivism, which has evolved into Marxism. It's all the same anti-God movement at different stages of maturity. Along with it came a full-blown Culture of Death and a disfigurement of marriage. The Left now runs all culture-molding establishments in society.
The progressive movement has all the trappings of a fundamentalist religion. Its sacraments include the variety of sexual perversions that violate human nature, and its major sacrament is abortion. The more true religion has been rejected, the greater the void to fill has become.
The breakdown of the family and its consequent confusion and lack of hope has contributed greatly to the growth of this new religion, whose god is self. It has been, by far, the fastest-growing religion in the Western world in the past few decades.
Interestingly, if you listen to the violent protesters now marching in our city streets and doing violence to restaurant diners, their collective chant sounds something like the Rosary. One leader shouts "black lives matter" in a certain cadence, and the rest of the crowd chants back the same thing.
Nineteen years later, we now commemorate Sept. 11, 2001. From the look of all we see in the news media, entertainment business and the world of academia, it seems we have not learned a thing.