September 11th: Memories
6 years ago today, almost to the minute, our nation was attacked.
19 foreigners, who were welcomed to our nation with open arms, murdered 2,974 fellow human beings (most of whom were my fellow citizens, but many of whom were also foreigners). At the same time, the attackers killed themselves. And they did it here in the United States.
How do you stop madmen who are willing to die to hurt you?
Well, our nation has tried.
Some would say that we've been successful. They can make a good case: no more major attacks by al-Qaeda on US soil, Bin Laden's still hiding and on the run.
Some would say that we've failed. Our reaction to the attack was to change the lives of United States citizens in incremental but very real manners. We passed a bill called The Patriot Act which allowed our government to bypass lots of protections to US citizens. It literally allowed our federal law enforcement to suspend habeas corpus. We began holding people without showing probable cause for a crime, or as proper prisoners of war. We made it possible for wiretaps to be set up without a court order within our nation, on US citizens. We made it possible for library records of citizens to be reviewed. We invaded two countries, and have more soldiers, airmen, Marines, and sailors in Iraq and Afghanistan now than ever before. They are daily being attacked by new and growing sects that are offended by being overseen by an occupation force.
I personally happen to disagree with the way that our federal government has and is responding to the terrorism threat. I'm pretty critical of our President these days. But he's my president. I personally believe the man is doing what he thinks is right, even if it's not what I think is right.
There's a lot of conspiracy theories about September 11, 2001. Well, I guess they're unavoidable, since the very act of 19 men coordinating a secret simultaneous attack on three targets in 4 airplanes *is* a conspiracy. But I don't hold with the "US Government Attacked US!" conspiracies. Similarly, I don't hold with the "US Jews Attacked US, So That We Would Go To War!" conspiracies. For the most part, in fact, I don't even think that our government has lied about the events that occured on September 11, 2001.
Call me a fool if you want.
But you have to hang your hat on something, and I'll start with that. I have my reasons for what I believe. (And you can fault them and debate them elsewhere; attacks on my naivete, and diatribes on how our government orchestrated 09/11/01 will be deleted from the comments of this post.)
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I'm writing this to plea to you, gentle reader: please remember that, six years ago this morning, 2,774 people died because someone hated our country. I cannot believe that any living adult doesn't recall his emotions on that day, but I think that some need to be reminded of it. Here are some of my memories:
--I remember being angry.
--I remember having lunch with my father a week later, both of us nearly breaking into tears while discussing the number of Americans who had died.
--I remember losing my cool and going off on a Middle Eastern man who accused me of writing him a speeding ticket just because he was a Middle Easterner. I had never yelled at a person on a traffic stop before, and haven't since.
--I remember discussing with my wife the issue of my duty. I gave serious consideration to quitting my job and joining the military to help attack those who had attacked us. She made clear to me what my more immediate duty was.
--I remember how helpless I felt. I wished I could have been there.
--I remember how angry --furious-- I was, that our citizens were so cowed that they would let some terrorists take over planes that way.
--I remember how proud I was of the impromptu heroes aboard United Airlines Flight 93.
--I remember watching the smoking ruins on television, and arguing with my best friend Scott that we couldn't use nuclear force to respond to the attack. I remember being afraid that he was right, though, and that our nation would use the nuclear option.
--I remember being proud of our nation--prouder than I'd ever been-- in the days that followed.