It’s been 11 years. One would think that the pain of 9/11 would have ended after a period of time, but it hasn’t. I still remember that day like it was yesterday, and it’s clear that it always will be that way.
My wife had taken our son to his two month check-up. He was exactly two months old that day, and I rolled out of bed a little late. I wasn’t working that week, so I didn’t get up at a particular time. I turned on the TV and the news was talking about a plane having hit the World Trade Center.
The whole world knows what happened next. We all watched it in living color. I remember calling my mother after the first tower fell. I was talking to her when the second one collapsed.
“It’s gone,” was all I could utter.
“What’s gone?” she asked.
It took me a little while before I could answer. “The World Trade Center. It’s gone.”
By now, we knew about the Pentagon and Flight 94 as well. Todd Beamer was about to become a household name, his last known words – “Let’s roll” – were soon to become a battle cry for those who would stand against terrorism
To this day, I remember the chill down my spine when I said those words. There were plenty of buildings that were part of the complex that survived, but all anyone ever thinks of is those twin towers.
In 11 years, we have seen warfare and seen the mastermind of those attacks dead from the trigger pull of a Navy SEAL. One would think that the death of Osama bin Laden would have helped the pain, but it didn’t.
On September 12, we were united in a way I had never seen before. Today, those days are just a memory. We now live in a world where patriotism is questioned over every disagreement, and anyone who doesn’t agree with the party in power is somehow un-American. The idea of squelching opposition is clearly one of the most un-American activities a politician can engage in, but that somehow seems to get missed by those who use that argument.
Now, 11 years later, maybe we can start to move back to that day when we were united. Opposition has its place, but the rhetoric we hear, day in and day out – and yes, even from me – does nothing more than create more and more bad blood.
I’m not naive enough to believe that this is a condition has ever really existed for more than a short period of time. However, just imagine that discourse was about sharing ideas rather than yelling louder than the other guy.
As we remember the pain from 11 years ago, maybe it’s not such a bad idea to dream a little bit for a world that will probably never exist…but should.