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September 11, 2011

9/11 - Ten Years Later

Today is the 10th anniversary of one of the most horrific attacks on America in the country's history. It's this generation's "Pearl Harbor" moment not because it instigated a war (they were at war with us long before 9/11; we just never acted like it) but because it will forever be known as a day where people are asked "where were you when the planes hit the towers?"

I posted my remembrances on Epinions on the 1st anniversary of the attacks, and re-posted them here in 2009, so I won't go over that territory again. The feelings in that post were almost raw, even a year removed. I still have vivid memories of that day: the sorrow of everybody in the office, the hugs that I received, the kindness of my Director's friend who kind of knew me (but not *that* well) rushing in to hug me when it became obvious I was about to lose it.

Those are the good memories we have of the attacks: the bringing together of a country in mourning, and even a world (with some notable exceptions, of course). The unity of purpose that came about, even if it was just for a little while before it all fell apart again.

The aftershocks from that day are still being felt all over the world, but it sometimes seems that people are in denial about what really happened. I'm not speaking of the whole Truther movement, though. I'm talking about those who would like to tuck it away as a national tragedy, a day to remember, but not for the right reasons. They still show images of the buildings, of course.

(Click all photos to enlarge)

But they don't show the human cost, pictures that actually pound home that people died in this attack.

It's like there is this collective denial because they don't like where thinking about it leads.

Before I go on, I have to say that I've been avoiding all of the remembrance shows on television this last week, because I think they're almost laying it on too thick sometimes, getting more and more maudlin all the time. Thus, it is possible that they are showing some of these pictures in them. If so, it's taken them 10 years, so my point still stands, and I would guess that after the 10th anniversary is over, they'll go back in the vault.

One thing that should always be remembered about this day, however, is the courage of so many people involved. The heroic passengers of Flight 93 who prevented an even worse result at the cost of their own lives. Nobody knows where that flight was headed if the passengers hadn't taken it back. The White House? The Capitol?

Also, there are personal heroic stories, of civilians who put their own lives on the line to help others even as they were trying to get away from the carnage.

And, of course, we must acknowledge the heroics of the first responders, those fire fighters, police officers, and other official personnel, who were running toward the Twin Towers even as others were running away. Many would say they were just doing their jobs.

Many of them died that day, part of the almost 3000 people who lost their lives. It's their heroism that should also be marked on this day. It's almost offensive that they aren't being included in the 10th anniversary commemorations.

That 9/11 attacks brought home to a nation, and to the world, that we've been at war for a long time, even if we haven't acknowledged it. The 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya, the attack on the USS Cole. Osama Bin Laden himself declared war on the US in 1996.

Yet nobody seemed to notice. It took the destruction of two skyscrapers in New York to bring that fact home to many Americans. And too many of them seem to have gone back to sleep.

While one should not paint too broad of a brush, tarring innocent people with suspicion and prejudice, one should also not deny the ideology behind the attacks. Too many people seem to gravitate to one extreme or the other. "All Moslems are terrorists" is a shameful viewpoint, but so is "No Moslems are terrorists." While I don't think anybody has said the latter, the determination to bend over backwards to avoid calling something terrorism (like the Fort Hood shooting by Major Nidal Hassan in 2009) is getting perilously close to that mindset.

There should be no rush to judgement when an attack happens. But there should also not be an avoidance of the evidence just to avoid hurting sensitive feelings.

The attacks of 9/11 opened many eyes to what's been going on.

Unfortunately, too many eyes have closed back up.

(Thanks to Technorati)

Never forget.


  1. My husband (who was at that time my boyfriend) was in the Pentagon 9/11/01. He was in the wedge that was hit, but he was near the center of the building, so he wasn't hurt. One thing he hates about the whole 9/11 thing are the idiots who claim the Pentagon wasn't hit by an airplane and that the whole thing was a hoax put on by the U.S. government. Conspiracy theories abound, unfortunately.

  2. Yeah, other than a brief mention, I didn't even want to get into trutherism. Those people are lower than low, I think.

  3. Thank you for this post. It is one of the most balanced I have read in the past 11 years. May we never forget...

  4. As an aside, the photo above appears to be of Father Mychal Judge being carried by the rescuers. God rest his soul.

  5. Thank you so much for the comment, Joni. I've been away from the blog for much longer than I have wanted to be, so didn't even remember that I had posted this.

    It's important to remember this at all times, but most especially days like today.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment.


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