9-11 One Year Later

The first time in a year I’ve allowed myself to cry. As the names and images of the victims go by on the TV screen, I catch of glimpse of a lost friend.

As the names and images of the victims go by on the TV screen, I catch of glimpse of a lost friend. It’s the first time in a year that I’ve allowed myself to cry again. I left my apartment and went down to the edge of the Hudson. Gazing in the direction of where once stood the grandest of monuments to American ingenuity and commerce, I was struck by how much more there is to see now that they are gone.

Love Hate God Satan Good Bad Life Death Difference Indifference Arrogance Ignorance Apathy Indivisible Invisible Tension Tenacity Complacency Dependence Independence Suffering Survival Anonymity Infamy Loss

The souls who left us that day, returned to warn us on this anniversary so that we can never forget. Fierce winds blew with every thought of the tragedy knocking me to the concrete and causing swirls of dust to rise up like smoke over Ground Zero. The tides smacked the riverbank with an angry rhythm. The NY Lottery Pick 3 later that night was 9-1-1. The Yankees won 5-4 in the 11th inning and the 7th inning stretch happened at 9:11 PM.

I was never one to believe in “signs”, but a sudden wave of fear filled me as I thought of us. We Americans are creatures with an uncanny ability to forget. To relax. To go on as if nothing ever happened. In fact, our government leaders encourage it.

We’ve lifted the carpool restrictions at the bridges and tunnels. We’ve discontinued the mandatory searches of all trucks. The armed forces that stood guard at the bus terminals, train stations and airports are now gone.

We heighten security only on “significant” dates. Fourth of July, Christmas, New Years Eve and , of course 9/11. However, we have to keep in mind that 9/11 was not a “significant” date to us until all of this happened. Why do we suppose that these people will act so predictably now when they did not then?

You see, we don’t think like terrorists. We think like logical, rational people but these are not logical, rational people we are dealing with. A year ago, Dan Rather tried to ease the country by insisting that these attacks were fueled by some sort of jealousy. That is a seriously dangerous assumption. These people are not jealous of us … they hate us because we have never delivered in our promises to help them during times of need. We toss guns and money at them and say good luck. We never finish what we start. It is a hate that is so intense and so focused that we cannot even begin to understand it. Calling it jealousy is just another way we Americans have watered it down to make it seem like we are better, we are in control.

Of course I agree that we are better, or at least our way of life is better. But don’t think for a moment that we have this all under control. We’ve let our guard down before, and look what happened. We knew the WTC was a target. In fact it was a target that had already been hit. Over time, we eased security, lightened the mood and now … they’re gone.

On August 16, 2001 I was on my way to see Radiohead at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. My friends and I had some time to kill, so we wandered in and around the WTC. We walked into the lobby of the Twin Towers, through the bridge that connected the two structures and just kinda meandered about for a while. No one asked us why we were there, what we were doing or anything. With the memory of the bombing of 1993 still fresh, the lack of concern for this group of ragtag explorers had me a bit uneasy. Also in my mind was the thought of how these buildings survived that bombing.

In a very innocent moment of curiosity, my mind conjured up comparisons to these modern symbols of empirical prowess to that of the time of the Romans and the Greeks. I thought briefly about how after thousands of years, the task of keeping those buildings upright has become very trying to say the least. It made me wonder about the longevity of places like the WTC. Little did I know the answer would come just a few short weeks later.

We have a lot to learn from and we have a lot to remember about those attacks on 9/11. The fact is they should have never happened in the first place, but they did and now we can never ever forget or let it happen again.

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