Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Where were you when life as we know it changed utterly?

Do you remember when you could walk all the way to the airport gate to wave good-bye to your husband as he boarded a plane? Or when you could pass through the turnstile at a football game or concert without having your bag searched?

Have you forgotten a time when we as a country didn't know what Al Qaeda was or where Tajikastan was or how to pronounce Azerbaijan?

Or who Osama Bin Laden was?

On a much more practical and mundane level, do you remember when you could fill your gas tank for less than twenty bucks?

Twenty terrorists took a joy ride that cost them their lives and killed 3000 people on American soil. But the damage is so much more than that. Our collective initial burst of patriotism and shared sorrow following the attacks on September 11, 2001, has devolved into suspicion and lost innocence and exceptionalism. It's sad, to me, what's happened.

We live in fear. Well, many of us do, anyway. I try not to, and I have my recovery to thank for that.

There ain't no big deals.
Live and let live.
One day at a time.

I've learned those lessons and more in the rooms of AA, and I'm grateful I don't spend my days worrying about what's going to happen next. And when it's going to happen.

We've seen our civil liberties erode, we've spent trillions of dollars, we've lost hundreds of thousands of military and civilian lives, we've committed untold resources to rebuild what we've destroyed overseas.

I somehow think the 3000 who died 11 years ago today wouldn't have wanted to see this happen in their defense. They might, as I am, be a bit cynical of those who wrap themselves in the flag and wave the Constitution, while politicians call for an ever-expanding military budget.

They might think it more important to live in peace, instead of in war.


Kathy said...

What a better place the world would be if this disaster and tragedy had never occurred. As you say, it altered how everyone goes about their daily lives with just a tinge of fear. It is sad.


denise said...

I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing - even what I was wearing. I remember that feeling of disbelief at what I was seeing on TV as it became more and more real. The collapse of the towers was unbelievable even as I watched it happen.

It's so unfair that a handful of people could have such a devastating effect on so many of us. But then, the reverse can be true also - one small "good" act can also ripple into something big, good, and long-lasting. Just seems like the bad stuff is easier to identify and dwell on.

I was thinking just now as I watched the events around the country that honor the "victims" of 9/11 that they fall so short of honoring ALL of the victims, which should include all of those who have suffered because of the war.

I have mixed feelings about how all of these events end up affecting us now and in the future. There's a fine line between never forgetting and moving on. We need to learn the lessons and move on, yet still honor those who have given their lives whether on 9/11 or in the war subsequent to it.

Anyway, it's never an easy day.

Winnie said...

I remember well, as I work in Manhattan and man the company switchboard at 8am.It was so horrible. I was not downtown, but safe in midtown but we were sitting there waiting to see if we would be hit "next", frantic families calling me looking for loved ones, and a pregnant secy fainting at my feet as her sister was in one of the towers (they were lucky as she came down and didn't go back up!) and had I had to evacuate the city with my brother on foot over the 59 Stree bridge to get home and watched my city burning. My safety is gone, I don't feel secure since that day on. Crowds bother me (subways etc) and yet I have to use them. I never had given much thought to my life ending because of some crazy people. I can say, if something were to happen again here in NYC, I would be leaving.Sad, but true. I am so grateful that my two brothers have left working in Manhattan so I don't have to worry about them. I am sure I would feel the same way in DC as well. I rationally know it could happen anywhere, but lets face it, two attacks there already. I would not go down there now for anything. What security was taken from us that day.

I pray for all those lost and for their grieving families.

Vickie said...

For months after 9/11 my then 3 year old daughter, every time we went in a building, would ask if the roof was going to fall in. In an odd way she wasn't worried, she just wanted to know if she needed to be ready to run.

My other daughter, now a freshman in college, said she is still always a little nervous each anniversary that something will happen. And this year on a large campus, she was cautious.

We hosted a girl from the middle east for a year. Honestly, she was very happy to be here and safe, but felt very upset about the lives of women and children there. I know that we think we "know" from all the stories which have been published here, but we do not know. I am not talking about what our soldiers are doing over there. I am talking about what their own men do to them. it is truly terrible. And there is no end in sight.