September 11, 2011 by bowmanaj
At 12:00 am, it officially becomes the tenth anniversary of Sept. 11. It was my generation’s Pearl Harbor. It changed the country and the world. We were never the same.
I remember exactly where I was when I found out what had happened. It was sixth grade at Crossgates Elementary in the southside of Toledo, Ohio. I went to drop something off for the teacher, Mrs. Pertcheck, in the office when I heard the normally cheery radio station in a mournful tone.
“A plane has hit the World Trade Center.”
The phrase “World Trade Center” was familiar to me, but I was still young so I didn’t know exactly what it was.
I walked back to the classroom which had a long hallway leading up to it, in time to see the second plane hit. It might have been a replay, but it didn’t matter. When you see such a huge plane hit a huge building, you are left speechless.
For the rest of the morning, until lunch, we watched CNN. The kids who were old enough to understand it, we were silent.
It wasn’t just the two towers. The Pentagon was hit. Thousands of confidential documents flew into the air. Later in the evening, I learned that Flight 93 was involved, perhaps to attack the Capital building or the White House.
Everything changed that day.
It was more than just the airport security. Although the terrorist plots in Spain and the underwear bomber exasperated the situation. News coverage became hyper vigilant, which was not necessarily a good thing. Opinion, theory and punditry took precedent over good reporting.
Patriotism took a sick twist. If you said anything remotely non-American, you were labeled as a terrorist. Patriotism at one point, meant to be anti-Muslim.
It was true, America was looking for a chance to finish the fight and help to mend its black-eye. Afghanistan was the victim, yet it was partially deserved. Then, the nation was tricked into the conflict in Iraq. While there were benefits of taking down Hussein, the struggle for the hearts and minds of the middle east, still rages.
Certain members of the media, military and government said the real enemy was in Pakistan. Instead of invading, American kept pouring money into Pakistan. Perhaps the government kept hope alive that Pakistan would turn into Tunisia or Egypt.
In May, social media sites exploded. President Obama took that long walk. Osama bin Laden was killed.
It should be noted who bin Laden actually was. He was born into wealth, billions actually. He was not an Afghanistan or Pakistan native. But he was smart. He first gave people food, to get them on his side. Then he gave them guns. The religion aspect was just fuel for the fire.
It was quite obvious that he was going to attack America, he even released videos saying so. In fact he was responsible for the first bombings in the WTC and an attack on an US embassy. US forces had multiple chances before 9/11 to kill bin Laden. They either failed or were adverted. This is all true and documented.
Not to sound like Jon Stewart, but the Zadroga still has major flaws with it.
Still, America is trying to heal, ten years later. A scar and memorial is left in a field in Pennsylvania. There is still a deep gash where the Two Towers and the rest of the WTC at ground zero stood. There are still troops mired in not one, but two conflicts and others seem to be in the scope (Syria, Pakistan, Iran).
This ten year anniversary still serves an important role though. American has caught its breath it seems. A more practical set of security measures are in place in the airports. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is calling on a national scale for the Zadroga Bill to include cancer for first responders. The Pentagon is rebuilt, with the Freedom Tower to being shortly. And for one day, things like the economy and the presidential race will take a back seat.
Tomorrow, reflect on those lost. Remember the unity we felt here in the Great Melting Pot. Hope, another incident like Sept. 11, will never happen again. This is the United States of America.