Today, We Watched the Sky Fall

There is something that’s been bothering me on this day, and it’s something that I’ve noticed happening for a couple years now:

“Remember 9-11!”

This year, I’ve been seeing more and more of this, people pouring out a simple one or two sentences, sometimes all in caps, reminding me that I need to remember the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the thwarted attack on United 93. As if I could forget. The events of September 11 will likely remain with me for the rest of my life – I can remember that day as clearly as I remember last week, and in the ensuing eight years, it has changed our world far more than any event that I can remember.

These simple status messages just don’t cut it for me. I’m sorry, but from where I’m sitting, status messages are more about the person than anything else, and I’ve always seen these sort of messages as a simple reaffirmation that whichever person posts something like this, they want everyone else to see that they remember the day, that I’m honoring their memory in the maximum 140 characters and that with that out of the way, I can resume the next 364 days without issue.

What a fucking shallow thing to do.

September 11th was an incredibly complicated and vile act. Just under 3,000 people have died as a result of the attacks, either as passengers on the airplanes, bystanders or rescue personnel. The attacks were planned well in advance by Al Queda, and those plans were spurred on by larger actions on the part of many individuals and nations. In turn, it has unleashed some of the absolute best and some of the absolute worst this nation has to offer upon the world.

I am saddened by what happened. I remember the absolute horror that registered while I watched online as the news poured in. I remember the confusion and the terror of the unknown, wondering if another airplane would come down somewhere else. I can remember the smoke rising and the countless pictures that poured in. It’s something that I don’t think that I could forget if I wanted to. In the meantime, we have launched two major conflicts around the world, changed legislation, opened prisons and distrust anyone with a water bottle on an airplane. Every single one is a pointed reminder of what happened eight years ago. I can’t forget, and I refuse to simply honor those who died on one single day. They deserve better, especially in this nation with such a short attention span.

We are reminded every day that something terrible happened, and I am so tired of being told to support the soldiers overseas, otherwise I’m unpatriotic, I’m tired of the idea that any opinion that differs from the larger public consciousness is nothing short of treason in some people’s eyes, I’m tired of the polarization that has infected this country and I’m tired of 9-11 and the memory of those innocent people being used, manipulated into serving an administration’s agenda. I’m tired that despite all of the remembering that is going on, we’ve largely forgotten why we’re in the situations that we’re in today.

Today, we watched the skies fall and change the world. I’ll never forget that.

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11 thoughts on “Today, We Watched the Sky Fall

  1. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in the superficialities of magnetic yellow ribbons and “thought you should know” emails. They distract us from the consequences of our and other people’s actions.

    • I totally agree. As the underground hiphop artist Sage Francis so eloquently puts it: “You support the troops by wearing yellow ribbons? Just bring home my mother f*cking brothers and sisters.”

  2. Yes, it shouldn’t be trivialized. People should all do their part to make we are never the victims of such filth again.

    One of those things is to stop showing the least tolerance for those residing in this country who do not love it enough to do what is necessary to defend it and it’s children. Those sorts are a far worse to danger to America than our foreign-born enemies.

    You don’t want to support our troops and are intelligence community who put their lives and souls on the line to defend you, fine. You’ve chose your side and may you reap the “rewards” you deserve for doing so.

    • Thanks for somewhat proving my point. There’s nothing in here about not supporting our armed forces and intelligence forces around the world. They do a remarkable job and will continue to do so. That is not the issue – the issue is that I see, first and foremost is an attitude that certain opinions disqualify people’s opinions. It is one thing to defend the country, but it it another to make it worth defending. I am tired of the attitude that there is only one right, one wrong in the world, when the reality is much more complex.

      • Right? Wrong? It’s not about that; it’s about making sure that our current enemies are broken to the point that they’re no longer a threat to us and that potential enemies fear our wrath enough that they’re not a threat to our children.

        You said that you were tired of being reminded to support our troops. I can see no reason for such a feeling unless you didn’t want to support them. All the Americans I know enjoy such reminders and think of them as affirmations. If there is another reason, please tell me.

        As for the polarization – it’s a simple binary equation. Either you believe in defending the US and punishing and destroying the threats to it or you don’t. As in all binary equations, polarization is normal.

    • Nothing in Andrew’s post did he state he does not support our troops, and personally I know that he does every day through his actions. Actions speak louder than words, and its important to act, not just post something about helping once a year. 9/11 is our generation’s Pearl Harbor, our JFK moment, and we don’t need to be reminded that today is the anniversary. A moment of replection can be important, but it’s your actions the rest of the year that shows your true character. Unfortunately their are those that post “remember 9/11” and believe they have done their part. Unfortunately that’s not true, and most likely counter productive. America’s sleeping dragon has lost its fire, and its prospects doesn’t look so good.

  3. Then you are wrong. Your approach is closeminded, and unable to see any other alternatives. I firmly believe in defending the country. I don’t believe that that should include some of the things that we have done. There is no one way to defend a country – there are numerous methods in which this can be done. Some should be, and have been, some shouldn’t be, and so forth.

    The point of this posting was not that I don’t believe that reminders are good – I believe that they are. I am reminded every single day of what goes on overseas. I fear, however, that people don’t fully understand or comprehend the reasons why we do what we do, and that, I think, requires more of a reminder.

  4. Anyone who thinks that sticking a yellow ribbon magnet on their car or a cutesy blinking image on their website is “supporting the troops” probably belongs to the same camp as the people who make their status messages about 9/11. It’s about the appearance of caring, not the act of it.

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