There are days that, simply by virtue of having something tragic take place on their date in American history, live on as numbers that everyone as a whole recognizes when the number is said. When I say 9/11 (Twin Towers and Pentagon hit by terrorists), everyone knows what I'm talking about. Then, there's 4/20 (Columbine Massacre), 10/12 (USS Cole attacked in the Yemeni port) and now 4/16. April 16 will be known forever as the day that one lone gunman attacked at the campus of Virginia Tech and took the lives of 32 people, before taking his own life. I don't think that any of us can understand what would cause a person to do something so insane as to take a gun, kill 32 innocent people, then take their own life. And, what makes it even more crazy is that massacres like this seem to only be noticed in this country when they happen in this country.
Every day in Iraq there are suicide bombers attacking buses, schools, people waiting in line at job centers, people at home eating dinner at their kitchen tables with their families or people going to pray at a mosque. Those attacks receive perhaps one article in our American newspapers, if not just a few sentences. More often than not, we don't even ever hear about the attacks in Iraq. On a daily basis in African nations, the base of power is constantly shifting, pitting local militia men against warlord types who massacre entire villages just for the fun of it, raping, pillaging and desimating entire populations. Again, maybe it warrants a paragraph or two in our papers here.
What makes the dates here in America matter more than the dates in other "less civilized" countries? Why are we so shocked when people in our "civilized" society behave so uncivilized? I think the reason why those dates matter so much to us is that they remind us that we too are human. We are base, crude, hurtful and animalistic. Our capitalist society doesn't really set us above anyone, that's a myth we perpetuate to feel safe. We aren't any better than any other nation, or safer than any other nation. It only takes one person, one event, one "human" being to bring us back to reality and remind us that we are fragile and vulnerable, not an island super power existing in Utopia above the rest of the huddled masses. I pray for all the families of those killed in the Va Tech killings. I also pray for all the families of those killed in every country where people act like base, crazy "humans."
If we concentrated more on making every day important, and looked for reasons to do something good for the population on a daily basis, maybe we could replace the days that are remembered for horrific events with days that are remembered for love, joy and peace. I know it will never happen, but wouldn't it be nice to remember a date simply because nothing bad happened on that date. Remembered because there was no bad news, no death anywhere. Remembered it because it was a date when everything went right. Wouldn't it be nice to have a string of days to remember like that. A month of days that turned into a year of days. Those would be dates I'd gladly mark on my calendar. Days to celebrate, instead of mourn.