The editor of the on-line new source that I blog for (DavisPatch.com) asked me to reflect on the 10 year anniversary of 9-11, and perhaps write about it. If I wanted to. This was a few weeks ago and I had a lot on my mind, and honestly hadn't even thought ahead to this. Guess I don't have quite the journalistic mind that he does. That's why he's the editor! (You can see my essay on Davis Patch at this link.)
So, just this fact alone, that I hadn't thought about it, is a good place to start. It's not that I've forgotten it -- never that. But it has fallen into the background of my mind and my life. I imagine I am not alone in that. Unless your own life was directly affected, I suppose that is what happens. Horrible things take place, and depending on how close it was to you, it eventually fades to the back of your mind as you go on with your life.
At the time, I couldn't imagine that life would ever be the same again. That day affected all of us to the extent that our safety was in question. Most of us had not really thought about that before. Ten years ago, my children were very young, and like most parents (I imagine) I was fearful for them, not myself. What kind of future would they have? How was life in America going to change?
We have seen changes--some subtle, some not. Not to the degree I imagined it. Certainly on the larger scale, security has been tighter. Homeland Security was created and all the practices and laws that have come about because of it. Most of that is behind-the-scenes. We experience it ourselves at airports, sports venues, and concerts. Cultural relations and racial profiling have become issues of more concern. On a smaller scale, we might approach life just a bit differently--being more aware of our surroundings and our habits. But even with these changes, most of us probably go about our lives as we did before
That's a good thing. I think. That was our goal as a country, right? Political leaders stressed that we should not live our lives in fear, rather we should continue to live as we always had. If we chose to live in fear and changed our habits, then the terrorists would win. We could not let them scare us into changing all the values that we hold dear as a country -- freedom, independence, the pursuit of happiness.
But, the consequence of trying to live our lives as before, is that it's easy to forget that we are still vulnerable. Something like 9-11 could happen again at any time. How many of us worry about this? I think about it sometimes, but I don't dwell on it. I personally feel that our government is doing an overall good job with security, but I realize that others do not.
How will 9-11 be reflected in history? Major events like this, while affecting the lives of people living at the time, don't have the same impact on future generations. They can maybe appreciate their significance, but in a detached way, like Pearl Harbor or the assassination of JFK. Those who lived through those events can recall them vividly, but those of us who did not, can only view them objectively. Children who were young when 9-11 happened, won't feel it emotionally like we do. It will be just another lesson in history. It's up to us to keep talking about it. To help them remember its importance. This year on 9-11, we will read again about the tragedy. We will see photo montages and hear personal accounts. We will watch again, the newsreels on television from that day. And then on 9-12, we will go back to business as usual.