September 11th, 2011
07:00 AM ET

Letters to the President: #965 'One fine day'

Reporter's Note: President Obama is marking the 10th anniversary of 9/11, just like so many others.

Dear Mr. President,

Although I remember with great sharpness the events of 9/11, and recall clearly the fear, sadness, and shock of the day, I must say that I have not been dwelling on that this weekend. I have not been glued to stories of remembrance. I have not felt compelled to relive the events.

Rather, I decided years ago that the best way to memorialize all those lost lives, was to celebrate all the life that has continued. All the babies born since. All the weddings, all the holidays, all the state fairs, rodeos, camping trips, birthdays, foot races, school picnics, church services, and so much more.

I think about the meaning of our nation. I think about how it that fits into the scheme of world history. I think about how, despite how natural and easy it feels to live in a democracy such as ours, how very new this concept is to mankind; this idea that normal people should determine the course of their lives; be free to choose their own friends, professions, and religions; and expect justice that knows neither rank nor creed.

I realize, of course, that our system is far from perfect, and I spend plenty of days complaining about the imperfections. But not on this day. My answer to the terrorists is not to spend this day in mourning, questioning all at which our nation fails, but rather to enjoy…to relish…to roll in the very freedoms and happiness which seem to trouble them so much…the things they would seek to destroy.

Make no mistake: My sympathies run very deep for those who lost loved ones or friends. But my tears can not help them. Our collective success and optimism, however, can help our nation put this terrible event into the past, and drive the ideology that brought terror to our doorstep, deeper into the Stone Age from which it emerged.

I hope you enjoy your day, as much as I will mine.