My Country & My Dojo

By Jenifer Tull-Gauger, September 2001.

I watched footage of the September 11th terrorist attack on our country without shedding a tear.  I was shocked, scared, sorrowful, angry, and confused, but my eyes were dry as I watched from a distance.

I cried just a few tears while watching the Prayer Service at the State Capitol on TV with my husband.

Then on Sunday, I sat through church with dry eyes.  For the closing hymn we sang “America the Beautiful,” and that is when my emotions came out.  My tears flowed freely as I sang the words I had learned for elementary school assemblies.  At the song’s end, I could not stop crying.

It was an emotional week for our whole nation, but my uncontrollable crying perplexed me.  I finally realized that I was mourning America.  I was mourning the free, safe, invincible country in which I grew up.  I cried, fearing our country would never be the same.

Then I thought about the evolution of East Valley Martial Arts – Kenshin Kan.  We could have lost our dojo altogether, but those of us with the strength, will, and commitment, carried the dojo forward.  We worked together for what we thought was important, and kept it going.  Despite major changes, when our resolve was shaken, we persevered.  We took to heart Dojo Kun number 3: “Cultivate perseverance or a will for striving.”

I realized that our dojo’s evolution is what will happen with our country, on a larger scale.  My tears of grief finally subsided.

America is not dead.  Our country will go on.  America is evolving and changing, but she is still the land of the free and the home of the brave.  We will be strong and strive for what we believe in most.  America will stand; she’s not going anywhere.  We will carry on in the footsteps of the patriots who created our country, and the footsteps of those who have fought for her through the centuries.

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