Tuesday, September 11, 2007

An Unpopular View

Six years ago today, the world trade centers were brought down and the Pentagon burned. Almost three thousand people died. I, like most Americans, remember where I was when I heard the news. I was sitting in the basement of a State office building, alone, when the first yahoo post came in a few minutes before nine a.m.. I didn't think much of it, the news post didn't specify what kind of plane had hit the first tower, so I was thinking it was a small one, maybe a two or four seater.

How wrong was I.

Today there are ceremonies in New York, Washington and Pennsylvannia to mark this tragic event. The media call the terrorist attacks a life-altering expereince for all Americans - my question is, was it really?

To those who lost their loved ones, I would say it is a yes. Has it changed the lives of Americans as a whole?


The legacy of 911 doesn't have near the impact the bombing of Pearl Harbor did. Americans haven't had to change their lives over 911 while Pearl Harbor changed us as a nation. Yes, the security at airports is a pain in the butt, it is illegal to photograph bridges, (love to see them try and enforce this one) and packages that are over one pound must be handed to a postman rather than dumped in the mailbox. A portion of Americans will tell you they feel safer now than before 911, in my opinion that is an illusion. How can we be safer in the skies when our luggage and our bodies are searched but less than 1% of cargo is checked out?

Pearl Harbor ripped the mask of complacency from the nation. During a time when our allies were at war, we didn't want to get involved so we kept our blinders in place while we manufactered cars and refrigerators. Some of our armed forces joined in the battle long before Pearl Harbor was destroyed. These brave men became pilots and conducted raids with England's Royal Air Force. It wasn't until the destruction of Pearl Harbor that our government made the decision to get involved.

See any similarities?

War has been waged in the middle east for over six hundred years. From time to time we dip our toe into it but we've never made the commitment to jump in with both feet. Then, after we were attacked, we invade the wrong country at the cost of tens of thousands of lives.

I truly feel for the families who lost loved ones on 911. I feel for Americans in general as we were, for a brief moment, shaken out of our apathy toward the goings on in the world. Yes, there are people who hate us, who want to kill us - but it goes deeper than that.

The news keep saying how this is the day that changed America and I maintain that the opposite is true. This day is important to American history, it is important to those who lost their loved ones, it is important to those who were, for one brief moment, shaken from their slumber - but that time is gone. Most of us have returned to our lives with very little thought to 911, that is the sad reality of this days events, six years ago. What will it take to make us understand that the America we thought we inhabited is now only an illusion?

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