A Defining Day

Some people try to forget the tragic day of September 11, 2001 while others will always remember. No matter who you are or what you believe in, you will no doubt have a memory of that day etched in your mind. More than anything, it was a day that defined many things in our world.

In the days and months after the attack, our country pulled together and became united as one. Bickering subsided and people embraced each other as fellow Americans. Patriotism was reborn, and I remember people selling American flags on the street corners of L.A. for $10 showing that capitalism runs deep. George W. Bush stood with firefighters at Ground Zero showing strength and courage, perhaps the pinnacle of his career as president. People wore FDNY hats and t-shirts and donated millions to show support for those who lost their lives. America was reminiscent of times past.

As time went on, this feeling of brotherhood began to crumble. No longer were Democrats and Republicans working across party lines but rather pointing fingers and placing blame. The message from our president went from “holding those responsible” to “finding WMD’s and fighting the axis of evil”, and somewhere in between, “Mission accomplished”. The Republican Party, long rooted in heavy defense spending, had found its new cause: fighting terrorism and winning votes with fear. The Democrats could no longer sit on the liberal side of the fence, so of course they had to show their support for the war in Iraq, even if it meant being accused later of “flip flopping”. Our nation’s politics were redefined.

Most of all, for us little people, the aftermath of 9/11 meant that we had to give up some of our civil liberties and things we’d been taking for granted for years. Now we have long airport security lines, airline watch lists, wire tapping, barricades around most government buildings, and metal detectors at places like the National Botanic Gardens. We have now joined the rest of the world in being a target for terrorist attacks on our homeland. Our day to day lives have been redefined whether we like it or not.

As the years go by it becomes easy to forget the feelings we all had on that sunny morning. I think it’s important to take the time to reflect, remember those who lost their lives, and think about how our world has been redefined as a result of one day in history. What goes through your mind on this day every year?

2 Comments so far

  1. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 12:05 pm

    I remember two things on September 11th. I remember a perfect September 10th evening that I spent with a good friend, walking the Santa Monica Pier. I had a flight to catch the next morning out of LAX back to DC that left early, but that evening, that sunset, that ferris wheel are etched indelibly on my memory.

    The other thing I remember is finally coming home. I drove into Washington on a sunny sunday morning at 7am, having driven all night from New Orleans after I’d missed a train connection. Three of us took turns and drove through the day and night, and all of us wanted to detour through the city on our way to drop one of the guys off in Baltimore.

    What we saw was flags hanging from every building, the resplendent capitol bathed in mid-morning light, and all was once again well for us.

    That’s what I think about.


  2. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on September 11th, 2007 @ 8:25 pm

    I remember American flags everywhere for quite a while. I am not the type of person to wave or even own a flag, but for a while it was a symbol of unity, of togetherness. Before long, it became a symbol of exclusion. The mood shifted from supporting each other to figuring out whether our neighbors were with us or against us.

    I have not owned a flag in my adult life and likely never will, as much as I love this country, simply because of the myriad ways it can be read and interpreted. I never want to be cast into the lot of those who espouse fear and hatred.



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