Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering 9/11

Shortly after 9 am on the morning of September 11, 2001 my phone rang. For a decade now, the quavering voice of my Mother telling me to "turn on my TV, something terrible is happening" has been stuck in my head. When I did turn it on, I saw a scene that looked something like this.

I wasn't able to comprehend entirely what I was seeing and I asked her what happened, what was going on? She responded by saying she didn't know but she thought we were under attack by someone and then she began to cry. At that point the newscast switched back to Tom Brokaw and although I didn't understand a single word he was saying, I knew my world would change beyond anything I'd known up to that point. I was right.

We became a nation of angry, fearful people. We've made decision after decision since then based on the emotions that the knowledge we had become a target created. We've spent  a decade since then waving our flags, shouting our patriotism to the world all the while sending our young men and women off to kill or be killed. Something about fighting so we can preserve our freedom. Freedom for what? To be selfish, greedy, hateful, small minded people?

We take little real interest in our neighborhoods unless someone isn't keeping their property up. No one thinks to ask if that person might need help, we just sit and criticize among ourselves about how they are destroying our property values. Then there's the other neighbor who should be shot for mowing their lawn early in the morning on a Saturday or Sunday. "Don't they know I want to sleep late? Who do they think they are to disturb MY rest?" Of course, the fact that may be the ONLY time they can mow their lawn never enters into the equation. It's always all about us, and what we want.

We teach our children to be bullies, to hate. We spend our time online trying to smear the reputations of people simply because they disagree with us over...well...anything. We accept no responsibility for our actions or our speech. It, after all, is a right guaranteed us by the Constitution so we can say anything we damn well please. No matter how malicious the content of our speech is, no matter whose reputation it damages, we have a guaranteed right to say it. Even when it leads to the death of another person. It's too bad, so sad, next victim!

We drive in a way that suggests we own the road. Speed as if there isn't a speed limit established by law. Yet, when someone else does it, why that is a whole different situation. That requires we chase them down and smash their vehicles or worse, we kill them. It's our right to defend ourselves, they tried to kill us by cutting us off.

We send money to disaster victims in other countries, but we won't volunteer to help people in our own communities. Our time is worth money, apparently those in need of assistance aren't worth much. Volunteer fire departments and emergency services all over America are closing because they can't get volunteers. The same thing is happening to volunteer police units who provide additional security for public gatherings like city parades. Then, of course, we swear about the increased taxes needed for municipal provision of these services. I wonder what will happen when a loved one has a heart attack and dies or a house burns to the ground while waiting for a response from a service that might be located 15 or 20 miles away.

We're a country with a chip on our shoulders daring someone, anyone to knock it off. The reality is the chip was knocked off 10 years ago exposing the fact that we are a bunch of blustering know nothings carefully educated by the GOP, Fox news and Rush Limbaugh. On the eve of the only attack by an enemy that we've ever suffered on our own soil, Eric Cantor is calling for a 40% reduction in payments to First Responders to disasters in 2012. I wonder what it will cost if you have to pay to have part of your house lifted off your body or that of a loved one. After all, without pay, there might not be anyone to help given how few volunteers there are in this America.

We've taken revenge upon the people who perpetrated this horrible disaster. It didn't give me my America back. All I can do while remembering that horrible day is wonder how the people who died then would feel about the America that exists today. An America where anger at a common enemy turned into hatred for each other simply because of differences of opinions. And I will spend tomorrow honoring the dead by remembering an event I wish had never happened and, given what has happened since, I wish we could forget.


  1. This is a powerful post. I cannot think of one thing to add to it. Well said...and I can tell...well felt.

  2. jadedj,

    Thank you. I've spent the week listening to the hype and hearing my Mom in my head. She's been dead since 2006. And I took a long look around me and I don't like what I see. Combine the two and...well, this post was the result.

  3. Sherry,
    9/11 was no different than that of December 7th - We arose from the ashes, buried our dead, and went after those who attacked us.
    The differnce between Obama and Bush is that Obama made getting Bin-Laden a priority. Bush made all of this "dead or alive" talk about al-Qaeda while he and Cheney manipulated the facts to justify starting a war with Iraq. GW etal made every pathetic attempt to tie the events of that September day to the war in Iraq.
    Finally a Navy Seal put a bullet through Bin-Laden's head.
    But, that did not happen on George W Bush's watch - no, ma'am.



  4. You took our pulse.

    Better than I've ever seen since September 11th, 2001.

  5. the joys of living in a small town. we are polite, we know all of our neighbors, hell we know 3/4 of the town we live in, we have 2-3 benefits a week for our neighbors who are in need. We hold doors open for each other, no one wants to be the first one to go at a 4 way stop sign, we have one of the best volunteer fire depts in the state of Texas. we all volunteer for something. Meals on wheels, bake sales, auctions, cook offs, etc. it's the big cities who live a different life and at a different speed.

  6. Sarge,

    People cared about each other after Pearl. They don't give a damn about anything except money now.

  7. Future,

    I will be 62 years old next Tuesday. I've watched humanity decline to the point where I don't like most of them. There are still pockets, in small towns, of people who still have their compassion intact. Unfortunately, they are a dying breed.


    I too live in a small town, but the city folk are moving in. Right around 9/11 local farmer sold to a developer a good chunk of his land. Built big expensive houses on it. Folks moved in and started complaining about the noise and smell of dairy farming. They took him to court, and they won. He can't start milking or barn cleaning until 7 am. Can't spread raw manure on land, had to build a silo to store it and he can only spread during the spring and fall. These people can pay big money for a home, but flat refuse to volunteer for anything.

    The monthly town meeting is now a hotbed of neighbor complaints and attacks on the character of some of the oldtimers here. These people even blocked the Fire Dept's request for money with which to buy a new truck. They vote Republican.

    Glad you liked the post.

  9. powerful post (as one commenter said) but.... the America who describe doesn not exist out here on the road.

    I said part of the reason for our lifestyle was to find 'Mayberry,' and I think we have - it's the 'lifestyle (RVing 24-7) itself.

    trust me .... the America you describe is not out here - the America we are seeing (on the road and at the Senior Resorts) is the 1950's all over again.

    you would not believe it and I do not have the space to describe it to you.

    I am thinking about writing a long blog about it though.

    hope you ane yours are well.


  10. hmmm..... 'who' instead of 'you?' sorry about that - I was typing fast as it's time for me to 'get up' and exericise.


  11. Sherry:

    Yeah, it cost the US $3 trillion to get Osama bin Laden, not counting all the lives lost and ruined by the wars. Has it been worth it?

    Casualties in Afghanistan:
    Afghan troops killed [1] 8,587
    Afghan troops seriously injured [2] 25,761
    Afghan civilians killed [3] 8,813
    Afghan civilians seriously injured [4] 15,863
    U.S. troops killed [5] 1,140
    U.S. troops seriously injured [6] 3,420
    Other coalition troops killed [7] 772
    Other coalition troops seriously injured [8] 2,316
    Contractors killed [9] 298
    Contractors seriously injured [10] 2,428
    Journalists killed [11] 19
    Journalists seriously injured [12] unknown
    Total killed in Afghanistan 19,629
    Total injured in Afghanistan 48,644

    # Casualties in Iraq:
    Iraqi troops killed [13] 30,000
    Iraqi troops seriously injured [14] 90,000
    Iraqi civilians killed [15] 864,531
    Iraqi civilians seriously injured [16] 1,556,156
    U.S. troops killed [17] 4,414
    U.S. troops seriously injured [18] 31,882
    Other coalition troops killed [19] 318
    Other coalition troops seriously injured [20] 2,296
    Contractors killed [21] 933
    Contractors seriously injured [22] 10,569
    Journalists killed [23] 142
    Journalists seriously injured [24] unknown
    Total killed in Iraq 900,338
    Total injured in Iraq 1,690,903

  12. ICE,

    I haven't found Mayberry yet, I'm beginning to think it might be inside of us somewhere rather than an actual place. Still looking though.

  13. TAZ,

    Thanks. I got angry, this is what resulted.

  14. Whit,

    Given the statistics you provided in your comment, I have to wonder about those who keep trying to blame the elderly and the poor for the problems in our country. Thanks.