|I am Brussels.|
When this attack happened only last month, I was saddened, but not surprised. They had warned of further attacks in Europe, so it was just a matter of wait and see what happens.
When it did happen, I kept expecting Facebook to give me a chance to change my picture to the Belgian flag. But none was forthcoming. I felt sad as I wondered if it was because of the kerfuffle that ensued after the Paris attacks last year, when some people were complaining about others who had changed their picture to the French flag, when so many other attacks happened around the world as well.
I think I can explain why. Most Americans have not been to those other places. Most Americans are descendants from European countries, so we feel a stronger relationship with the Europeans. It doesn't mean we don't care about the other continents, or the people within them, but that we feel a stronger brotherhood of man with Europeans.
This also made me sad as at first I felt united with my fellow Americans in standing together with them in grief for the Parisians. I was even there during 9-11. Now they were experiencing their own 9-11. And I felt sad for them as I remember how deeply 9-11 affected me, and still does. Then people started creating this rift between us. And that unity was broken.
Why do we feel the need to attack each other? Why can't we be the United States of America? Why can't we get past the divisions between north and south, left and right? Why do we feel the need to attack others on social media, thinking since we have freedom of speech, it is OK to hurt others? It is OK to spread whatever lies we may believe as long as we believe they are the truth.
There are so many hack sites out there that spread lies. They have no journalistic integrity. I usually don't comment or share unless it's a site I am familiar with, it has been verified with other sites, and I am relatively sure that it is something my Facebook friends would be behind. Facebook is a way for me to connect with my friends that I hardly ever see. I suppose people could say don't read it, don't look at it. But after reading so many postings that continue to drive a wedge between us all, I wonder if we will ever get past this.
Friendships should be able to respect each other, respect each other's opinions, and not try to change each other. I'm an adult, I have a brain, I try to see both sides. I try to think how would I feel? I am not always successful. Sometimes I lose it and let fly. But I am working on it. I don't want to contribute anymore to this division.
We need each other now. We need to be united against the outside forces that want to destroy us and kill us. We need to stand together for this great country of ours. It's not perfect. No country is. But I am thankful for the opportunities that this country has afforded my family and I. My ancestors came here in search of a dream. Let's hold on to that dream, and not let it slip away because our enemies want to destroy us. Don't make the sacrifices that our military men, women, and families have made be in vain.