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September 11, 2007

[Photo: In Memory... by free2bjcphotos]

The greatest homage that can be paid to those who died on this day in 2001, and in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 6 years, is to never stop seeking the truth.
Together

Together we have been through a monstrosity,
a test of endurance
and strength.
Together we have watched, glued to new information as the situation unravels.
Together we have expressed our confusion,
anger, and sadness.
Together we have mourned silently, love
lost and lives departed.
Together we shall see this as an opportunity
to make right what once went wrong.

Jennifer Kay Tracy, from poetry.com

Copyright ©2007 Jennifer Tracy

They say that September 11, 2001 was the "day that changed our country forever."

How much truth is there in this statement? Was the change fleeting? Was the change positive? Negative? What evidence of the change is visible in our country today?

Conspiracy theories aside... I do think it fundamentally changed our perception of our own safety.. our own invulnerabilty. An entire generation (more?) that had never been attacked by another nation/group on this large a scale, suddenly had to face the truth of our exposure.

I think it highlighted to the world that what was true in world war II with hawaii, was still true today. An attack made on our country solidified our resolve against foreign foes like nothing else could have. Whether our target was/is accurate sadly only mattered to a minority at the time, and we went over there with full force.

I think about that a lot when songs like "Angry American (Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue)" by Toby Keith play on the radio.. Song talks about our nation falling under attack (sucker punch while we weren't looking).. and how as soon as we could see "clearly" through our big black eye, we'd light up [their] world in retaliation.

I chuckle each time now.. because in the months following the attacks, it was such a motivating song... "Woo hoo, we're tough! We have to get them back for what they did to us!, [etc..]" The song goes on to say "we'll put a boot in your ass; it's the American way"... Does it matter if it's the right ass? We were told where to firmly place our foot, and for most, a defined target was all we needed.

Because really, at the time, there was a claim of direct evidence.. documented and tracked "proof".. (proof that couldn't be revealed, since it would give away our method of collecting it). Nay-sayers were immediately "unpatriotic" and part of the problem. But, nonetheless it was enough proof for most to cheer and root our guys to and through victory. And after some months, with our mission "accomplished", we heard less and less about proof.. and more about the gaping hole that remained.

I wonder a lot if there had been WMDs present, if things still would have played out like they did. If the wrong people had their hands on that kind of weaponry, would we have lost orders of magnitude more soldiers? Would we have been forced to retaliate in kind? In so many ways I'm glad they didn't turn up. More than anything though, I'm disappointed with the early claim of proof in the beginning.

--

That's all old news though.. and that's the thing. Today is not Sept 11, 2001. It's 2007. There are some very serious holes that need to be filled over there. As much as I personally hate having our forces there (i really truly think we're just stoking a fire that that's been burning for -so- long... we're just new fuel.. and adding more fuel to put the current fire out is just not a solution..), I really hate the idea of us just pulling everything out, and leaving a massive gap in security for the remaining population. There's so much money at stake in terms of controlling the land/oil rights, that it's pretty difficult for me to imagine a replacement force showing up that'd be honorable. And then what.. do we paint a new target, and bombard our way back in? .. And -then- what? leave? again?

I've talked about this before, I'm sure.. Saddam was a jerk. Fine. When people rose up in groups of a hundred or more against him, they'd be ordered dead. Certainly not the way we do it in this country (nor elsewhere), but.. ... is that the type of rule that works to keep four very separate groups from annihilating each other? Is our system of government going to do a better job? From what I've seen, they've taken up and learned how things work here to a "T"... They have topics that two groups feel completely different about, and as a result, are unable to reach a workable vote to enact a law. How we can possibly dare to accuse them of not using our system of government to speedily pass laws is beyond me. It doesn't work for us, either. :)

--

Anyway, I've strayed.

Was the change simply fleeting? I think the emotional energy and feeling of necessitated-"payback" is certainly gone. I think at this stage enough people are tuned up to a level of doubt that at least gets them demanding more detailed evidence.. more time spent checking and double-checking what we believe we know, to ensure we don't barrel into something worse.

I think it was helpful and uplifting to see the country come together in the months that originally followed 9/2001... but day to day, you don't see that anymore. I know it's all over the TV (networks can't help but try to out-do each other), but out in real life... did the day mean as much this year as it did on 9/11/2002? No. Not for me.. and in fact, I didn't even think about it today until I saw the flags outside our office at half-mast.

My real answer to your question comes in my answer to this one... Do I feel any different today, and is the country "different" today, than it was on Sept 10, 2001? I don't think so. We're just accruing enemies at an even faster rate than we (apparently) must've been at the time. And that's something I think we should be more worried about.

I do think it has changed us (forever?) in that we'll be less surprised if it happens again.. Is that positive? negative? just bringing us closer to reality?

On the positive side it may have inadvertently dealt a blow to the unbridled Avarice that had engulfed this continent. Perhaps more people realised that there IS more to life than making money.

Even the Hippy who had morphed into a Yuppy and sold junk bonds in the 90s had to take notice.

The weird thing is that instead of solidifying your country it created an aggravated and complete rift. Now the rest of the world is trying to see which version of America will prevail next November.

The negative side is all too painfully obvious. Things couldn't get much worse. The current state of affairs on the global stage is a disaster.

Historians will dine on the rotting flesh of Karl Rove, Cheney, Rummy, and all of the others who will be 'Nuremberged' as Agents Provocateurs for what is quite possibly the WORST President and Administration in History.

If these conspiratorial rumblings eventually become accepted by the majority of Americans the unthinkable may actually happen. Democracy may be reinstated in the WHite House.

It will take decades for tensions to dissipate between the 'West' and 'the rest'. The Dixie Chicks will become Iconic and the USof F*ckin'A will be replaced by a Kinder Gentler Bush Senior worldview. You just scare foreigners back to their own countries intead of trying to rule the world.

To answer your question. I feel that relief is imminent but it will be s l o w in arriving.
The ability for motivated nutjobs and whoever else is responsible for 9/11 to strike again tomorrow is just as high as it was on 9/10.

I feel more optimistic now than I have for the past 6 years because the shadow government of White House is being dismantled and discredited. That is about as good as it gets right now.

I definitely questioned personal safety and the safety of our country after 9/11. Those concerns have faded for me over the past six years and have morphed into an intense pessimistic attitude toward the government and the press. I now fully realize that truth is relative and that seeing is not necessarily believing. Additionally, I feel helpless in many ways, in that "regular" American citizens are simply fodder for the manipulative, greedy, and power-hungry powers that be.

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