Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The mandatory 9-11 post

Well, another 9-11 has come and almost gone and the question is, why should I, you, or anyone else really care. Eleven years have gone by. America has become enmeshed in huge crises foreign and domestic and a new generation of youth is growing up never having really paid attention to the twin towers and never having known a world where you can go through airport security with shoes on.

What is important for everyone here is to understand something which I think we have already forgotten -- "Everything Changed on 9-11".

I know. It's a cliche. We all say it, but really, wasn't the point of our so-called victory over terror that ultimately, nothing changed? Isn't the point that we still go on with our lives? Shouldn't that be our cold comfort? The terrorists lost because everything has remained the same? Maybe, but it rings hollow in the face of the truth that Everything Changed on 9-11.

I don't mean this as a joke. I think that every year, we should go through a particular intellectual exercise: think about life before and after 9-11 and reflect on what changed. See how the world is no longer the same because of the events of that morning. It isn't nothing. It is everything. Change was forced on us and we can't deny it.

I know I changed. I can't look at people, places, politics, travel, professional sports, or the trivial bits which separate people the same way. I can't look at a skyline of any city the same. I can't watch a fireman walking down the block the same way. I can't cross a bridge, pray to my god, or watch a child smile the same way. I can't watch the TV news, enjoy a tourist attraction or look at a stranger on a train the same way. I am a radically different person. 9-11 aged me. It wore me down and yet it restored my faith in humanity. It made me appreciate what I have, who I am and where I live. It made me reconsider the importance of the freedoms I have and hold dear. It made me a better driver, friend, husband and a better father. It made me love my fellow man more sincerely and made me more aware of the need to be sensitive to all around me.

9-11 changed everything, and because of that, the terrorist lost.

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