Today is the 13th anniversary of the biggest Al Qaeda terrorist attack on the United States of America. It's one of those days that will forever have significance in my life. In the category of Unexpected Tragedy and Senseless Death, it ranks right up there with Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy Assassinations and the shuttlecraft explosions.
September 11, 2001 started out like any other day for me. I was at work starting my shift in the call center of the No-Name Software Company. My team lead walked over and said "an airplane just flew into the World Trade Center."He found it amusing and as I write this now, I realize that he was quite a Sociopathic Waste of Human Life (the signs were actually there all along).
Live streaming was nothing like it is today and social media was in its infancy (Plaxo anyone?) So we probably just pointed our browsers to CNN or whatever news source we could get. It didn't take long to find some type of video showing the destruction. Honestly I don't remember the minute details. Eventually word came in that other planes were involved and we realized this was bigger than we thought.
That week many churches opened their doors more than just on Sunday, with quickly but well planned services of remembrance and reflection. Remember the campaign to have everyone stand outside with a lit candle at a specific time? We all tried to carry on as close to normal as we could, but the devastation was all anyone could think about. That and speculation on what might come next.
Today there will be posts on Facebook about what they were doing when they heard the news. News outlets will run the obligatory photos, video clips and special interest stories like the pilots who would have had to ram United Flight 93 because they went up without any ammunition. And over the next couple of days there will be calls to remember and never forgetting what happened.
It won't be quite the fanfare of the first couple years when the experience was still raw and new. And it won't be like 2011's 10th year anniversary because for some reason people put more emphasis on an anniversary divisible by five or ten. [I imagine 2016 will be significant because it will be the 15th Anniversary and a presidential election. Cannot wait for that party to start.]
I'm not saying anyone is ignoring or purposely downplaying the significance of today. What I'm posing is that collectively, we have shifted our focus a bit. From Never Forget to I Still Remember but Look Upworthy Videos.
My Facebook feed is not nearly as inundated with 9-11 posts and pictures as it has been in years past. And while I was out driving to lunch, a couple of emergency vehicles had their lights on and while everyone got out of their way, the speed in which people moved their vehicles -- on this of all days -- was more indicative of annoyance that they would miss their light than WTH! is ISIS up to something?
On a personal note, I don't feel any safer than I did before 9/11 nor do I feel any less safe. I feel that all the hassle we go through at airports, the cost of the TSA and the No-Fly lists that cannot distinguish between a 4 year old boy* and a terrorist are just a colossal cluster fuck that we could really do without.
*Yes, I realize that kid is now eleven and I read somewhere they use these things called pictures to alleviate some of the No-Fly issues.
We put up with it because opposition is met with refrains of "for your safety and security" and if you push too hard, you are accused of being unpatriotic. Maybe in some small way, the terrorists did win.
Do you have a specific September 11th Memory? Tell me about it here in the comments, then swing by my Facebook page and LIKE it! You'll find funny, informative links and interesting pictures. Don't worry, your FB feed won't get overwhelmed.
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