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9/11: Ten Years After

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Okay, it's September 3rd and since no one has brought up the subject yet, I will.

As the 10-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks nears, my thoughts have inevitably turned to that awful day and how much life has changed in the decade that's passed since then. I am sad, and pensive, and uneasy.......even though I didn't know a single soul who was lost that day, it forever altered the course of not only my own life but those of my family and many of our friends.

No, I didn't know anyone who died that day, but two of my children and a son-in-law joined the Army because of it. They went to war and came home in one piece, at least physically. The psychological effects are still unfolding; perhaps the truth of what they saw and what they had to do will never completely come out, even as it haunts their dreams. But they were among the fortunate; some of their friends also went to war, and they came home in a box. Gone are their parents' dreams for them.......the lives they might have lived, the careers they might have enjoyed, the children they might have had. I thank God every day for sparing my husband and me from this most horrible of fates.

Yet I realize that the ripple effect from 9/11 is not in any way unique to our family, nor to our circle of friends and acquaintances. Sadly, I've come to the conclusion that as a nation, we are vastly less free than we were before the first plane hit the World Trade Center. Ten years ago, it was unthinkable that Americans would face being literally strip-searched before boarding an airplane, let alone that they would consent to such an indignity even if the search were conducted via machine. Few people foresaw the onslaught of legal maneuvers by the government to allow warrantless wiretapping, eavesdropping, and spying on everyday citizens with or without cause. And I don't believe anyone anticipated the tidal wave of regulation that has brought us to the brink of governmental control of the cleaning products, light bulbs, and OTC medications we may buy......the kinds of activities we may conduct on our own property (remember the Detroit, MI woman who was charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense for growing a vegetable garden in her front yard?)......the kind of food we feed our children and grandchildren......and even the consumer products we MUST purchase (health insurance), whether we can afford it or not.

All in the name of "keeping us safe", of course.

My daughter's father-in-law recently articulated this sadness that I and so many other people are feeling these days, and I think he was spot on: today's young adults have NEVER known what it is to be free in the American tradition. September 11 happened when today's 30-year-olds were college-age; it defined their early adulthood and inspired many of them to join the military, and those who stayed home started families and careers in a world where nobody felt safe anymore. We didn't have that problem before the 9/11 attacks. Life wasn't idyllic---it never is---but we weren't so afraid of our own shadows that we were willing to give up our liberty and our dignity in exchange for some false sense of security in the form of government "protection". If you had approached an American on September 10, 2001 with the idea that one day they would not only have to walk through a metal detector to get on a flight, but submit to taking off their shoes, having total strangers see through their clothes, and "assuming the position" so yet another stranger can touch their most private areas (and without being punched out!!), they'd have said you were crazy. And yet.......here we are.

Where does it end? Where does the erosion of our Constitutional and God-given freedoms stop, and common sense begin in a post-9/11 world? Ten years after, I worry that we have changed in some fundamental way, that we have allowed this to happen because we've grown fearful.....and lazy. And if this is the way it's going to be from now on, then haven't the terrorists accomplished their mission?

Any and all perspectives are welcome.......what are your thoughts as this milestone approaches?

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Thanks for bringing this up; I was beginning to wonder if AN would be silent about the 9/11 anniversary, though it would be hard to imagine since we are all so verbal about so many things!

I was "off' on that day, and received a call from a co-worker I didn't want to hear from or talk to. But, I had answered the phone so I did my best to hmm and uh-huh my way through the call so I could get off the line. Just before we hung up, she said "Isn't it awful about those people in New York?" I said, though not knowing to what she was referring, "Yeah...."

A little later, my curiosity was piqued, so I turned on the TV and.....was glued to it for the remainder of the day and evening. I did not know anyone who was involved in any way nor any relatives of those who were there and/or affected personally .

The next day I saw a photo on the front page of a newspaper; someone had caught a bloom of flames immediately after one of the crashes, and as I looked at it closer, I realized that the object I was seeing in that picture was that of a man's leg, from the knee down, with sneaker still intact on the foot. I have since searched for that photo ( don't remember what paper it was) but have been unable to locate it.

The more films and videos I saw of that day, the more I came to think that the ones who died immediatley that day were the "lucky" ones, never having known what hit them. Those who decided that it was better to die by leaping from the building rather than burn to death.....my heart sinks when I think of it, and when I saw the film where you heard, "thud", "thud", of the bodies hitting ground. OMG. And when the buildings collapsed I had a vivid picture in my mind of hundreds of screaming souls rising up in the flames and clouds.....

But the thing that affected me the most was the firemen and cops standing, helpless in the rubble while all those personal locators were chirping and beeping, each one belonging to a now dead responder.....I can't even explain what I felt...horror, sorrow, there was nothing I could do but feel the pain radiating from that scene. That sound is one of the most desolate, unconsolable things I have ever heard.

I pray for the souls of the lost and dead, and the lives of those whose loved ones are gone, and the brave ones who dedicated their lives that day and since then, to protect and serve, to stand up for all of us, and to protect our country. Their lives are so hard, yet it does not stop them. I am forever grateful.

I still occassionally watch some of the documentaries made of that day. My husband doesn't understand why I do.....I'm sort of paying hommage and 'not forgetting', I guess.

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My husband watches it all with me, every year........in his way, he feels as much of a need to remember as I do.

I know what you mean about the lonely chirping of those personal locators. That sound sort of punctuated the shock and horror we all felt that day; and the frantic twittering of sirens from ambulances and fire trucks evoke some of the most powerful memories of 9/11 for me.

I think it's because at that time, they meant that something really and truly horrifying had happened on a tremendous scale, and that massive numbers of human beings were probably dead. I knew that the Twin Towers could hold enough people to populate a small city, and I remember shuddering at the idea that tens of thousands could have been in there when they fell. Naturally, along with everyone else I was thankful that the final tally was much smaller---slightly fewer than 3,000 souls altogether---but it was small comfort in light of the fact that none of them deserved to die that morning. And those sounds will always remind me of that. :crying2:

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I came across this today and really like it. He's a lot more verbose than I am (which is saying a lot), and much more articulate as well.

On September 10, 2001, I was a 20-year-old American history student in my junior year at UC Berkeley, hopeful that the next decade would be as relatively placid as the Clinton years. My friends and I sat and watched This Is Spinal Tap that night, embodying that pre-9/11 mentality that has been so viciously derided ever since.

A phone call from my dad woke me up the next morning. A few of my roommates were already watching the news. Talking heads on Fox, which I had preferred to the statist liberals on CNN, were calling for blood, saying it was time to let loose "the dogs of war." It was the beginning of a nightmare that has so far lasted ten years.

Although my college buddies and I lived in the pre-9/11 bubble, having come of age in the boom times of the 1990s, we were not ignorant of the conditions that likely led to this attack – one-sided support for Israel, the U.S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia, the sanctions that killed half a million Iraqi children. Libertarians and others had warned for years about the threat of blowback. Berkeley was a fairly safe place to be a peacenik and that month I was glad to be where I was. Nevertheless, it was depressing that virtually no one in the wider culture was drawing the clear connection between terrorism and America's brutal policy of wars, sanctions, and occupations.

With very few exceptions, war fever swept the nation in September 2001. The entire right, barring a few voices in the wilderness, reverted to full-blown jingoist nationalism. Most progressives were at the best ambivalent on the prospect of war against the Taliban. Even many libertarians clung to the state for protection. Prominent Objectivists demanded that the U.S. nuke ten countries as a show of force.

A Bloody Decade of Fear and Vaunting by Anthony Gregory

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What are y'all's thoughts about what's coming up?

I still cry at the footage, and I had nobody there/nearby who was effected.

I had just had surgery 5 days before, and still loopy from anesthesia/pain meds . My Dad called me at about 8 a.m. (which in any other situation would not have been received very nicely :mad:) and asked if I was up... uh NO...he told me to get up and turn on the TV "you won't believe what they're doing to us" (no clarification of who "they" were at that time- too early for any real speculation). I turned it on in time to see the second tower get hit. As was the rest of the country, I was glued to the TV, but couldn't really make sense of what I was seeing. It was too horrible and surreal.

For the next 2 weeks I was home from the surgery, it was nothing but 9/11 saturation 24/7. I hated it, but had some weird need to keep watching, like maybe someone would say something that helped- but knowing they wouldn't. I cried a LOT. My neurologist wanted me to start Celexa, but I said no. It was reactionary depression; not biochemical. Nothing could fix it .

I'm not a super emotional, warm fuzzy PDA sort of person, but there are some things I lose it over.... anything re: the Holocaust, slavery, JFK's funeral procession and John-John saluting the casket, and the Georgian luger who died in Vancouver. I come unglued. There are other 'boo hoo' moments (some happy tears, and some sort of a vague sadness re: the fragility of human life) but the gut-wrenching, guttural reaction to those tragedies never seems to get easier.

:heartbeat:heartbeat:heartbeat:heartbeat:heartbeat to all who are hurting re: 9/11- whether directly or indirectly- it pulled at our collective core. :(

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I cannot listen to Only Time by Enya at all.

My heart hurts just thinking about 9/11.

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I cannot listen to Only Time by Enya at all.

My heart hurts just thinking about 9/11.

Wow. A beautiful tribute :)

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Wow. A beautiful tribute :)

GAAAAAK!! That chokes me up........:crying2:......and it doesn't help that the song yanks the hell out of my heartstrings anyway.

"Only Time" was the song that was playing at my vet's office a couple of years after 9/11 as my poor sick kitty, Sammy, was put to sleep, so it's long had the power to reduce me to a soggy, bleary-eyed, weak-kneed mess. :crying2::crying2::crying2: Could've done without that tonight, thanks.

The other thing that's hit me unexpectedly during this strange and sad week happened this afternoon as I was thumbing through a commemorative issue of Life Magazine while standing in line at the Wal-Mart checkout. I was leafing through full-color pages, thinking about buying the publication for posterity's sake, when I ran across a photo I'd never seen before: a shot of the south tower with a close-up of a jumper, standing out in stark contrast to the fire and the mortally wounded structure. It wasn't the iconic picture of the man who took the fatal swan-dive with his head down and one leg bent; this one was of another fellow, caught in mid-flight with his arms and legs outstretched in what appeared to be a desperate attempt to hold onto life, even as he plummeted to his death.

I slapped the magazine shut and put it back on the shelf, suddenly overwhelmed by emotions that I didn't want to share with other Wally World customers, and realizing that I didn't want to see the photo, or others like it, ever again. After all, I'd LIVED that day. I was a witness to history. I didn't experience it personally or lose a loved one in the catastrophe, but like billions of people all over the world I saw the horror on live TV, all that day and into the days and weeks that came after. And like many of my fellow Americans, I lived with it by day, dreamed of it by night, saw two of my kids sacrifice their youth and innocence in the aftermath......and I don't want to keep reliving it, year after year, even if I can never forget it. A decade is long enough.

~sigh~I can't even imagine what this 10th anniversary must be like for the 9/11 families, who will NEVER be able to put it in the past. All any of us can do is remember the lost, send the families our good thoughts (and prayers if we're accustomed to doing so), and hope that somehow, someday, we'll know why this happened.:redbeathe

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larger than the thought of terrorism and attack, for me were all the jumpers.

i was paralyzed, numb w/overflooded shock and grief...

just thinking of their final thoughts while in mid-air.

i have seen hundreds die in my hospice career, with my final thought rationalizing that they were all in peace.

for some reason with 9/11, i didn't feel that way.

for some reason, i didn't feel they were all at peace.

but not knowing how the spirit reacts immediately after death, i'd like to think that they were.

while i would like to move forward, it's quite obvious that many remain traumatized...

and think it will be yrs before we have an anniversary w/o fixated reflection.

leslie

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