It’s been 16 years since that awful day when the Twin Towers came crashing down and so many lives were tragically cut short. It’s important to take a few minutes today to reflect on what happened. What did 9/11 mean to you then? Does it differ in how you view things today?
It does for me. During the days immediately following the attack, I was angry, sad and numb. I didn’t know anyone personally that died, but the momentousness of the event was unavoidable and we all knew that things would never be the same. Our false sense of security was destroyed and our innocence lost.
At least it was for many of us having come of age in the 1980’s. That bubble gum era of optimism and bad pop songs provided a false sense of inevitability about the future and naivety of the world around us. 9/11 shattered all of that.
We saw repeated news footage of the towers disintegrating, listened to unusually calm voices from those still stuck inside or on flight 93 leaving voice messages to their loved ones, knowing they were about to die.
We watched in horror as people flung themselves out windows rather than face being burned alive.
Yes, things had definitely shifted that day and America was going to war.
What exactly did these idiot jihadists wish to accomplish by all this? Did they have even know or were they just drones following orders? For that matter do we even know?
Sure we went in to Iraq and Afghanistan and we, in effect, “took the battle over there”, but did we really accomplish anything? We destroyed the Taliban and they came back as ISIS, we are in the process of destroying ISIS and now Al Qaeda is gaining strength. The names change but the Islamist fanaticism behind it remains the same and its followers hate us as much, if not more, than they did on 9/11.
I’m still angry today, albeit it’s softened a bit by time in to exasperation. The people that were murdered, the suffering of their loved ones, the painful recoveries of those that were injured, both physically and emotionally; it all seems so pointless.
I’m sad too but in a different way, as I mourn for a time when we seemed to be able to come together, at least on the big things. We are a divided people today, uniquely so I think when compared to other tumultuous times. Social media, fake narratives repeated as truth, the demonizing of political views, identity politics and the instant reaction of so many to imply ill intent to those that think differently is ripping this country apart. We are a hot mess and only getting hotter and messier.
It’s not despondency I feel when looking back at 9/11. It’s more of an acceptance that there will always be bad events and innocent people getting murdered. The best we can do is focus on what’s important; God, friends, family, loving others and always holding on to the truth.
What are your thoughts about September 11? Have they changed from then to now?