Fifteen years ago, one of the most heinous, reviled and unforgettable acts of atrocity took place on September 11th. The soundtrack to Mariah Carey’s movie “Glitter” had hit the shelves.
Then the unthinkable happened, as the World Trade Center in New York was hit by two airplanes being controlled by evil mad men. Each tower stood for a while as emergency crews scrambled, first responders rushed in and thousands were evacuated. Unfortunately, as you know, over 3000 lives were snuffed out in the attack. A similar attack with a much smaller outcome happened at the Pentagon and another attack was thwarted by passengers, causing the plane to crash before it could hit any possible targets.
The human lives lost were felt around the world. The fear, anger and frustration caused a fervor and emotional response like no one had ever seen before, at least in that decade in the United States. Other nations had felt the same anger, frustration and loss of life countless times, but this was the United States, New York and in the late stage of the information age. This was bigger, more important and more painful than any other tragedy that pre-dated it, because we said so.
We unified. For once, all the voices of America cried out at the same time, rallying, hoping and some praying for justice, peace and for our mutual love of our neighbors and other Americans to be able to help each other out. Everyone was a patriot. Then we found a target to hate. We joined hands, screaming loudly, as one, as Al Qaeda assumed responsibility. Most people thought that it was just some dude named Al, but many of us knew better.
As the news spread, the message of unity was carried, except with a bit of a twist. Let’s all get together to just hate on those that aren’t us. Do these people potentially look like those that we are pretty sure caused this calamity? If so, hate them. Be careful around those with names you can’t pronounce. Don’t you dare let the terrorists win, and by all that is good and green in this world, make sure you get your duct tape.
Fifteen years have passed and now Osama Bin Laden is reportedly dead, but many people don’t accept that as the truth. The instant patriotism has died down, but the hatred for the wrong people, the innocents, has not. We’re still a nation unified against a common enemy, but that enemy has changed. We’re now unified against each other.
The ridiculous fervor of bi-partisan US politics can almost be summarized down to, “those that hate all muslims” and “those who do not hate all muslims.” You can pretty much go right down the middle and figure out who those people are, right and left. This is what we’ve become. This is the post 9/11 America. We all cried together, hugged together and promised ourselves that we would rebuild after the towers fell down. To some extent, we have, but losing those towers and those lives gets a staunch reminder every year. We tell each other never forget, but we should be telling each other always remember. It sounds like they are the same but they really aren’t.
Always remember that strangers were crying on each others shoulders, looking for comfort.
Always remember that people blindly ran into burning, crumbling buildings to save complete strangers. Some of the people were muslims.
Always remember that hatred for a large part of the population because of the actions of a few is wrong.
Always remember to never forget to always remember.
Yes, September 11th is a time for remembrance, mourning and to look back at the tragedy of the day, but we should also remember the blind love we had for each other that day. When we didn’t know who was supposedly responsible for this huge loss of life, we were trying to make sure that EVERYONE was okay. It didn’t matter what religion you were or what color your skin was. We were all in this together until someone told us not to be. Always remember that.