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Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Later

Today is the 10 year anniversary remembrance of 9/11.  I say remembrance because to me anniversaries should be happy moments, not something that was filled with terror, with not knowing and the uncertainty of the future.

I knew today was coming with all the spots on TV for the upcoming specials that would air today, with the "Where were you posts?" on Facebook but I still lapsed when seeing a post on Facebook asking, "Where were you?"  I responded in my usual funny-not-so-serious-self with, "I know where I was, where were you?"  They post where they were and my response to that was for them to lay off the shrooms.  I did not realize until noticing the other comments on their initial post and subsequently catching the date, it was after midnight after all, that I put two and two together and felt a little like an ass.

Just a little.

Fast forward a few hours and me coming to the realization of the above, the date and having some sleep, I started to think about 9/11 some today.  9/11 was to this generation what Pearl Harbor was to our grandparents generation, a moment that will live in infamy.  A heinous act that was propagated by people that hated us and wanted to see us fall as a nation.  With Pearl Harbor, the attack thrust us into the ongoing war that was World War II.  It steeled us into action, changing our industries from peace time production, to war time; giving our men and women a shot of nationalism to swell the ranks of our military to face the fight head on.

9/11 was much different than that of Pearl Harbor for this generation.  We had a swelling of national pride, we bought flags, tshirts with the flag on it and started buying more American products in general.  There was no war to join, only one to start but we were not sure exactly where to start.  With intelligence that the U.S. had at the time, it was decided that the Taliban, the ruling faction in Afghanistan, were harboring Al-Qaeda along with Al-Qaeda's leader Osama bin Laden.  Al-Qaeda were the ones to blame for this tragedy. This was not a next day, clear cut action but a month later in October 2001, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the oppressive regime and to bring those responsible to justice.

This was not a short term action by the U.S., we were in it for the long haul.  The U.S. went to war with Iraq, overthrowing Saddam Hussein and installing a democracy in that country and the while still chasing down Bin Laden.  It would take the U.S. 9 long years to finally track down Bin Laden and kill him.

Are we safer?  We like to think so.  Was justice served?  To the families that lost loved ones during 9/11, we liked to believe so.

Through all of this, what have we gained?  There are still people out there that hate us Americans, they hate our ideas, our way of life, our freedom.

Will we ever truly be safe? Sadly, we will not.  The world has gotten too small and the discordance with other peoples too great for anyone, American or otherwise to be safe from a person or people that wish to see your end of life.  With some money, some documents, an airline ticket, you can be anywhere in the world in a day to ruin anybodies life, if you so wish.  Technology can only do so much in protecting us from outsiders that wish to come here to do us harm but as the saying goes, "Where there is a will, there is a way."

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