Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11, 2011 - Long Post. Warning: Political

Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of the September 11th disaster.
Ten years since the Twin Towers were destroyed, since flight 93 crashed to the earth and the Pentagon was targeted.  Ten years since rescue workers rushed to the site of the falling towers to try and save anyone they could.  Ten years since Pentagon workers rushed back into the smoking building to save injured coworkers. Ten years since passengers on flight 93 called their loved ones to say good bye one last time before rushing the terrorists who commanded their flight.

Since 2001, America has changed.  The terrorist attacks made us rethink our safety and the way we think about being vulnerable.  Air passengers who were previously told to comply with hijackers were now told to fight back with every fiber of our beings.  Flight attendants took on new responsibilities for public safety forgoing previous "service industry" etiquette and abilities.
In the name of "security" we gave up niceties, innocence and freedoms.

We took our innocence for granted.  We took our ability to board a plane at whim, enter buildings without showing identification and travel easily, for granted.  We were able to complain about poor service, joke about others and become emotional without breaching national security.
Air travel meant late flights and bad food.  Now, air travel means x-rays, pat downs and overzealous TSA agents.  Air plane food is a thing of the past, with prepackaged snack bags replacing hot meals.  Airline security is time consuming, invasive and tiresome.

Americans responded to the attacks with highs in nationalism.  Yellow ribbons, American flags, troop support rallies were soon replaced with anti-Bush sentiment and conspiracy theories.  Eventually, the attacks became political with celebrities claiming that patriotism was a sign of weakness.  Rosie O'Donell and others spouted theories that our own government was behind the attacks.  George Clooney and others formed "charities" for 9/11 survivors that proved to be corrupt and mismanaged.
President Bush responded to the attacks with strength and dignity soon became fodder for his political opponents.  Scared and frustrated Americans directed their anger where the political leaders and celebrities pointed.  And that was towards the President, who took on a strong, stoic presence in response to the attacks.

Our country changed overnight.  Our borders no longer protected us.  Intelligence showed that our enemies  were launching a full scale war against us, with training camps overseas.  The Taliban, Al-Quaeda and other terrorist groups made it their mission to destroy America, our economy and our people.  Murder was just the tip of the ice berg.
Americans were divided.  Some wanted to strike and prevent future attacks.  Others buried their heads and criticized our country's actions.  Our brave troops were sent into battles against an enemy who followed no rules of engagement.  And the politicians used the military as pawns in their own war games, placing individual political power over the good of our nation.

I love our country and am grateful to be an American.
10 years have passed.  Where will we be in another 10 years?

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