My first thought when I heard about a plane hitting the World Trade Center was, “Man, that was one bad pilot. How do you accidentally hit one of the largest buildings in the world?”
Turns out, you don’t. Accidentally, that is.
Just like every other blogger or person with any sort of soap box, no matter how small or large, today there’s really only one subject about which we can talk. The fall of the twin towers. The terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001. The day things got real.
That day still stands out for me as clear as a bell. My wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Obeyed, was off from work, having been on call the night before and was going to take the young Hyper Lad to his kindermusic class. Normally, that was my job, but she wanted to do it since she actually had the time.
I was driving back from a shopping trip when I first heard people on the local sports radio show talking about what had happened. That was when I realized this was something more than just an accident. When I got home, I found SWMBO glued to the television. I didn’t say a word. Just stepped beside her, sat down and started silently watching as the drama unfolded. Watching as terror blossomed on our shores.
Watching as more than 3,000 people lost their lives.
Eventually, I reached down, picked up the sleeping Hyper Lad, and cuddled him in my arms. I needed a little reassurance that life would go on. Hugging a baby is the best way I know to get that.
For years after, there were two thoughts that were intertwined with Ground Zero and just about everything else. They were: 9/11 changed everything and If we don’t (fill in activity here), then the terrorists have won.
These were repeated as gospel, believed by just about everybody who said them and just about everybody was saying them. You couldn’t go more than a day without hearing at least one of those expressions.
And, as it turns out, they were both wrong. Here it is, 10 years later and we’re still just about the same. Not all that much has changed. We finally got Osama bin Laden, the architect behind the 9/11 massacre, but we’re still at war in various countries and our economy is still in the dumper. And, seriously, could the terrorists win if we didn’t go shopping? And, if so, that doesnt’ say much for our strength in the first place.
Ten years later and we’re more divided than ever. Even in the face of an external enemy, we can’t pull together for more than five minutes before somebody pulls out a knife and starts looking for a back in which to park it.
That, dudes, is what we have to change. It’s like all those shrinks on the radio programs say, you can’t change other people. You can only change yourself. And that’s what we have to do, to really give meaning to those who lost their lives a decade ago. Learn to work together, to get along even when we disagree, to learn that holding a different opinion doesn’t make someone a demon. To learn that, maybe, winning at any cost isn’t really worth the price you pay.
Ten years, dudes. Ten years. It’s time we started earning the time we’ve been given.