14 Years Ago Today …

Another September 11th, another blog entry.
If that seems a bit, well, blunt, I suppose I can only ask for your patience.

As my social media feed slowly fills with mentions of 2001, my mind — which was really focused primarily on very micro/personal concerns as the day dawned too early for my taste — actually turned toward other years past, previous remembrances.

In 2013 I briefly mentioned how I feared that we were regressing somehow, repeating the mistakes that allowed the events of 2001 to take place.  Otherwise I referred to my post from 2011, which at that time stood as the most viewed entry in the history of this blog.  (It has since been surpassed by at least two other items)

In 2011 I wrote “10 Years Later”, the post I’m probably still most proud of over some five years here.  I’ve said numerous times that I don’t really think I’ll ever do anything better on the subject so if you’re looking for my best, please give it a look.

Earlier today though I actually ran across something I wrote in another space, in response to a 2003 question about “Where were you when … ”  Reading that is actually what prompted me to write anything at all today.

I was here at home, sleeping in after staying up late with some paperwork.

My wife woke me to take a look at CNN after seeing the footage of the first tower strike. I got up in time to see everything that followed.  And I remember staying in front of the TV until after 3 a.m. the next morning.

What I remember most from the day though are three things I did that day — a round of telephone calls to radio stations to get them to pull one of our client’s commercials off the air (it was a military-themed humor spot, inappropriate under the circumstances) — trying to explain to my then three-year old son what had happened & why mama & daddy kept crying — and trying to reach a close friend of ours who normally used the WTC subway stop on her way to work and whose fiance often had to go to the WTC for work (both were fine and were elsewhere at the time as it turned out).

Among the things that struck me after reading my own words was how much time has passed, how memories that are still indelible do seem to begin to fade ever so slightly.   Maybe that’s just age creeping up on me but …

I realized, mostly I think, WHY my thoughts & focus today was really on more mundane matters, the micro rather than the macro, the simple day to day bullshit we all go through one day after another: those seem to be the ones I really do much about.

In 2003 my recollections were still fresh, I distinctly recall(ed) how the confusion & emotion of that day felt.

In 2011 I was still relatively hopeful, that we could still act in meaningful ways.  Why else would I have said “We have to be willing to learn from the past, to accept the responsibility of reality however unpleasant, and to teach those truths to all who will have them.”  I saw & felt like we could still DO something going forward.

In 2013 I was concerned, increasingly so, but still seemed to feel like there was time & purpose to keep looking toward improvements.

Today?   I don’t seem to find one realistic shred of hope or optimism or … whatever the hell you want to call it.   We, as a society/culture/nation, seem to have abandoned reason, logic, common sense.   Collectively we seem hellbent on not only avoiding any chance to improve things but actually determined to make them worse.  Good is bad, wrong is right, up is down, on and on.   You could hardly screw things up more if you actively tried (actually, I believe that’s pretty much the case, there IS an active effort to do so on many front).

And that realization helped me understand why I was feeling so focused on … the mundane, isolated, micro, whatever phrase works best for you.  It’s pretty much what’s left.

I think there’s a fair argument about what the real goals/aims/purpose of those who attacked on that day was but there’s certainly a popular narrative that runs along the lines of “to destroy America”.

September 11, 2001 is still a horrible day in the history of the nation.  I’m not saying anything here that should be interpreted or construed as minimizing that in the slightest.

Rather, my take today is pretty simply this:  as an operation designed to “destroy America” they not only failed but failed miserably.  They didn’t really have to do anything toward that end, we’ve been far too busy doing that ourselves, voluntarily and with considerable enthusiasm.


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