A day the world changed
Pardon the digression we’ll get mail later on.
Tough to believe, isn’t it?
It’s been a decade since the towers fell, a plane hit the ground in a Pennsylvania field, the Pentagon was attacked and so many thousands of innocent people lost their lives.
I’m sure we all remember exactly what we were doing at the moment the World Trade Centre was attacked, some of us were driving to work, incredulous at the news, unable to truly comprehend what was happening, some of us thought at first it was some horrible accident because it couldn’t have been something done on purpose.
Do you remember it as a day of utter confusion and fear, hours and hours of asking questions: Who is this Bin Laden? What is Al Qaeda? Is this war? What could possibly be next?
Do you remember the horror of the morning? Recall being unable to comprehend what we were seeing? Those were human beings falling from the sky, for goodness sake. We watched people jump to their deaths because they saw it as the only way out. What it must have felt like, hopeless, scared, is nothing we can even imagine.
It was the seminal moment in so many of our lives, the time we truly understood the depths of evil and hatred that could propel men to commit unspeakable acts of terror and cowardice.
Life changed forever.
But where are we now?
There are far more learned people than I who are trying to figure out what’s happened in the intervening decade, but the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 touched all of at some level, we live with the repercussions today.
Is a safer world?
Have civil liberties been lost in the name of Homeland Security?
Far too many, far too often and that may be the longest-lasting legacy of that morning.
We live now, thanks to the fateful day, in what a friend once termed a state of Institutionalized Security Paranoia. We scan and we x-ray and we have to use silly little plastic bags to tote tiny tubes of toothpaste and shampoo from one country to the next.
We are, sadly in many cases, far less trusting, more fearful. There are people who cast more furtive glances at those who don’t look like us simply out of ignorance and fear brought on by that day. Many have decided not to expand their horizons but to close their minds; many don’t want to know.
It’s not that we were truly wide-eyed and innocent before that day but now? Now we have come to know the feelings that so many in so many other countries wracked by religion-based hatred but it happened here, not in some bazaar half a world away and it struck us at our very core.
There have been wars waged and more innocent victims of them as a result since that day; the world seems darker in some ways, doesn’t it?
Maybe we in Canada can’t quite understand the feelings of our neighbours to the south, who have always seemed to be a bit over-zealous anyway and are now more insular in many respects than they ever were.
But we were all touched by that tragedy, by those acts of incomprehensible violence and some more than others. The people who wandered the streets of Manhattan a decade ago now, covered in dust, wondering what was next may never be the same, a decade after, two decades after, three.
We saw them, the fear in their eyes. It will be the burning image in our minds for years to come.
We mourn those who died, we feel for the families who lost loved ones, we have a new appreciation for “first responders”, a term not many were familiar with 10 years and a day ago.
We will never forget that day, never should.
Our world is different, and not in any good way.
It was the morning we will never forget.
Ten years ago.