I’ve read a number of other bloggers’ reflections on the anniversary of September 11, 2001. Some reflect on where they were or what they were doing. Almost all offer condolences for those families that lost friends and loved ones. Nearly everyone is looking backward – I’m going to take a moment to look forward.
What I Remember About 9/11/2001
[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B00005R87A” locale=”us” height=”354″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ksnl%2BczBL.jpg” width=”250″]At the time, I was working for a large software company down by the Orlando International Airport. It just so happened that there was a branch office of the US Air Marshals in the same building, just a few floors up from our office. I remember watching the events of that morning unfold in sheer disbelief; I was at a total loss for words.
Some co-workers in the office were saddened, others were angry and most were confused. If something like that were to occur in the world today our first thoughts would be, “Terrorist Attack” without hesitation. At the time we were left wondering if it was pilot error or just some crazy accident. Terrorism wasn’t on our minds then like it is today.
We all came together in the office that day and had an informal discussion. “Should we close the office?” and “Did we have co-workers in the area?” were some of the topics of discussion. Because of the heightened security at the Air Marshals office, the decision to close the office was made for us – they closed the entire building just as a precaution once it was concluded that the ‘accidents’ that morning were far from accidental.
I felt so close to my co-workers that day. We were all brought closer together due to the tragedies that were bound to impact all of our lives. We would be forever bonded together, much like my grandparent’s generation was bonded together by the attack on Pearl Harbor and my father’s generation with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. We all could sense the entire country coming together as we watched the 24×7 news coverage of the events over the next few days.
What Has Changed Since 9/11/2001?
The national collusion I witnessed on that day, now 10 years in the past appears to have evaporated. We remember the event but have we already forgotten how it felt to come together as Americans that fateful day in September? Tragedy brings people together, but as the memory of that tragedy fades we often resort to ‘business as usual’. We may pause on the anniversary of the events like we are today to reflect, but why does it only have to be for that day?
My reflection today centers around the victims of September 11, 2001. What would they think of the country they left behind? I think, for the most part, they would have been proud of our response immediately after the events. We came together as a country unlike most have ever witnessed. But today, 10 years later, we’re more divided than ever. Politicians are more partisan than ever, divided by the difficulties that face our economy. Almost all of them appear to be unwilling to budge on their positions and none of them seem to be willing to put their differences aside for the ‘good of the nation’. Politicians are supposed to represent the public will, so I can’t help but think that division permeates to the population as well. Instead of being united as a nation and as a people, today we are more divided than ever.
What would the victims of 9/11/2001 think of the state of our nation now? Would they feel like they gave their lives in vain knowing now how divided we are? Would they be disappointed, as I am, knowing that the bond created by the events didn’t last beyond our initial reactions? Shouldn’t the calls for remembrance be followed by calls just as loud and just as dedicated for a return to cooperation and patriotism?