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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

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.)
_ _ _

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.

I remember.

Do you?

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14 Comments:

At Tuesday, September 11, 2007 10:17:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Fixit said...

Yes, I remember well. I had just finished my own story and clicked around and saw yours. Funny how similar the stories are....

 
At Tuesday, September 11, 2007 1:25:00 PM, Blogger knitalot3 said...

Excellent post.

I remember. I remember being horrified and very, very sad. I remember wanting to go to NY and help.

I bought spools of red, white, and blue ribbon and handed pieces of them and a safety pin to anyone who wanted one.

I finally took the weathered red, white, and blue ribbon, that I tied there on the morning of 9/11/01, off my car antenna last Sept.(06) when I sold it. I still have it.

I remember feeling incredibly proud of the people of the heroes on United Airlines Flight 93.

I remember being very proud of all the police, firemen, and others that risked or gave their lives to help.

I was amazed at the way people were kinder and more tolerant with each other, including strangers in the days after 9/11.

I am proud to be an American citizen.

 
At Tuesday, September 11, 2007 2:59:00 PM, Blogger DirtCrashr said...

I remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach that lasted for weeks.

Nowdays the feeling I get most like that comes from willfully, self-blinded idiots, debased creatures with no pride in anything and who even fear pride - when they start in with the inside-job crap.

 
At Tuesday, September 11, 2007 3:21:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

"Nowdays the feeling I get most like that comes from willfully, self-blinded idiots, debased creatures with no pride in anything and who even fear pride - when they start in with the inside-job crap."

Dirt, I don't get mad that people would think that stuff; I just don't agree with them on most of it. Frustrated with? Oh yes.

You see it all the time. People need someone to blame. A reason for it all. In this case, they can't get a lasso around the necks of those to blame, so they'll take the people that are closer, because, dammit, someone's gotta pay.

 
At Tuesday, September 11, 2007 4:49:00 PM, Blogger Ed said...

That was such a surreal day. I lived in a really small town in Iowa then. That afternoon, the lone Gas Station sold out of gas, due to fears of $5.00 a gallon. I remember gathering there on Main street that evening with quite a few others that lived there, we were all, to a man, just kind of stunned at what had happened. Someone pointed up at the sky, (By this time all civilian air traffic had been halted) We looked up & saw three sets of contrails headed east. The President had been in Omaha earlier, so we figured the contrails must have been Air Force One, and a couple of escorts.

I remember right at that minute feeling glad that the Presidential election turned out the way it did, rather than the other way around. I remember a guy saying right then, "Git em' George!"

A few days later, when The President was standing on that pile of rubble with his arm on the shoulder of the Firefighter saying that "We hear you, and the people that knocked these buildings down are going to hear all of us soon!"

That was a statement of fact. I'm not a worshiper of George Bush by any means, but I agree with you, Matt, that he believes he is doing what needs to be done. I don't care for some of the measures that have been taken, but we had to do something.

Great Post Matt.

 
At Tuesday, September 11, 2007 7:58:00 PM, Blogger phlegmfatale said...

your memories parallel my own.

 
At Wednesday, September 12, 2007 5:41:00 AM, Blogger Old NFO said...

My first thought was that we should have finished it in 1991 when we had the chance, but weren't allowed to... I lost two good friends in the Pentagon, and mourned all those who died that day.

 
At Wednesday, September 12, 2007 10:22:00 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

"--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 thinking that after this, there's NO WAY Americans will meekly surrender control of an airliner ever again. Up until this point, hijackings hadn't resulted in using the planes as guided missiles, so I couldn't really fault them for that. After all, once the guys on 93 realized what was going on, they fought.

 
At Wednesday, September 12, 2007 11:07:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

I know, Kevin. I'm not saying my thought were completely rational. I was just angry.

When I heard reports about how the Shoe Bomber was set upon by an entire plane-load of angry American passengers, I shouted at my car radio: "That's right, Mother-F***ers! Bring it! We're done being meek!"

 
At Wednesday, September 12, 2007 11:08:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

...But then Virginia Tech's incident occured this year, and I realized how quickly we forget. :(

 
At Thursday, September 13, 2007 3:25:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Police Man said...

I remember!

 
At Friday, September 14, 2007 10:11:00 AM, Blogger Sewmouse said...

I remember.
I remember that it was mostly SAUDI ARABIAN citizens who perpetrated this atrocity.
I remember that Saddam Hussein had NOTHING AT ALL to do with it.
I remember that our President PROMISED to bring Bin Laden to justice - and now says that Bin Laden is irrelevant.

I remember Habeus Corpus, Free Speech, being able to travel to Mexico or Canada without a passport, being able to stand with my loved one at the gate to the airplane until she flew off, rather than kissing goodbye in the parkinglot hours prior.

I remember that the Justice Department was politically neutral, dispensing "Justice for All", not just justice for the privileged few who would toe the party line.

I remember a country where political dissent was considered PATRIOTIC - not treason.

Bin Laden won. The US that was has been destroyed. I WAS a Republican.

 
At Saturday, September 15, 2007 10:40:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

Sewmouse, I would have to agree that al Quaeda managed to strike an even stronger blow in the long run than in the short run.

 
At Sunday, September 16, 2007 8:03:00 AM, Blogger Chrysalis Angel said...

We will never forget. If only all our soldiers and their families, and all those that suffered from 9/11's atrocities "really" knew and felt how much we all felt and still feel for them. That day is forever embedded in the memory of those that survived to see it and it's aftermath.

 

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