September 11th, 2001–Ten Years Later

Pentagon lit up for 9/11 anniversary

Image via Wikipedia

I worked in a different city, with a one hour commute.  I listened to talk radio on such trips but got off of the freeway just as the news came on and said what had begun happening. 

I sat in the car in shock for a couple of minutes after I parked the car at work, waiting for some detail or other.

When I arrived in the office I found my coworkers trying to get coverage on the conference room training video TV, which wasn’t normally equipped to receive network broadcasts…streaming media was still too new.  Someone suggested that we send a person to Walmart for some rabbit ears T.V. antennae.  As it turns out we weren’t alone…Walmart did record business on rabbit ears nationwide that day as other businesses did the same thing we did.  For a long time after that we could watch football on that T.V., with the rabbit ears that we bought on 9/11.

Bottom line?  We stood around in the conference room and watched as first one and then the other tower collapsed, along with the news about the Pentagon and that aircraft in Pennsylvania.

After work, I drove straight home and got out the flag that I put out on holidays.  I put it in my car and drove to a small rural overpass near my home where I stood over I-80, waving it back and forth for an hour while my arms ached and tears stung my eyes.  People honked as they passed.  I haved that flag over that freeway because I’d had tears in my eyes off and on all that day and I couldn’t make them stop.  A lot of people shed tears that day.

The term “Terrorism” seems to evade solid definition as folks with an ax to grind against this or that rival political group work to bend the term to fit their opponents.  The main theme however is that it is war against non-combatants to draw attention to some group, cause, or individual.  This fuzzy definition, and my annoyance with the news media‘s overwhelming, sheep-like propensity to play right along with it, prompted me to write the fiction short-story “Another Man’s Terrorist” where I attempted to nail it down to mind-set and intent.  The story also defines and separates irregular armies from the definition because such do not necessarily constitute terrorism, even though the regular armies that they fight like to label them as such.

What has happened since 9/11?  Some started to claim that it was an inside job.  Some speculated that the Israeli Mossad did it.  There has been a war smouldering between radical and moderate Islam for some time now, a war which seems to heat up more each year, that many think was at the heart of the event.  It altered the entire direction of our U.S. policy away from post cold-war budget and tax cutting toward war-making and liberty-shreading…a direction which has now expanded to include Presidential administrations from both major political parties.  Many fingers, while pointing at their political rivals, conveniently neglect to remember the roles they played leading up to the event.  Some groups and individuals, some as un-muslim as a group or individual can be, rose to some prominence as they tried to deflect responsibility away from al-Qaeda and toward their own local targets of political ax grinding.

Does it matter what all those innocent people, then and since, died for?  Such simple questions seem to have been blurred to obscurity under the feet of hordes of selfish people as they thronged to use those deaths to benefit their own causes.  I should have more forgiveness in my heart.  I should put this all aside, as many will say today, and focus on the healing.

I should…but I can’t.

I’ll simplify it here for you all.  Thousands of people went to work that morning, just as I did.  They kissed their loved ones and drove in from near and far, parked their vehicles, entered an office or boarded an airliner…and then died a horrible death.  They died because someone thought that their own cause was worth more than those people’s lives.

However you frame this event for yourself…never forget that.


~ by Bill Housley on September 10, 2011.

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