Ten Years On

Unless your time machine broke down next Thursday, you can’t have helped but notice that today is September the 11th… a day that will live in infamy.

Most of us remember exactly what we were doing that fateful Tuesday morning. I was in — of all places — an airport, putting my Sister-in-law on a plane.

Back in those halcyon days, security was, with tongue firmly in cheek, at a low level. We walked to the gate together. There were no identity checks, no million-dollar scanning machines, no Thugs Standing Around, no Homeland Insecurity. Those were better times.##And then the planes hit. And everything changed.

At first, we were (mis)informed that a bomb had gone off at the World Trade Center. Then the second plane hit, and suddenly everone and his dog was getting out their cellphones and trying to call someon who cared.

Naturally, the cellphone system designed for perhaps a dozen or so active calls at any given time, promptly collapsed under the strain. Everyone was looking around to see who was hogging the few available connections, and those who had one seemed reluctant to give it up.

The ground stop went into effect. The planes that had just taken off landed and returned to their terminals. The passengers getting off were furious… until they were informed what had just happened.

Many were in shock. Some were weeping. A few were angry.

With no flights planned for anytime soon, we went home.

It is hard to believe that ten years have passed. It seems like yesterday. But it is also easy to believe; so much has happened.

1. Air Travel is no longer fun

2. Pointless war #1: Iraq. A tragedy in  six parts.

  • Enforcing UN Resolutions
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • The Hunt for Saddam
  • “Making the world safe for democracy”
  • Regime Change
  • Exit Strategy

3. Pointless war #2: Afghanistan. There is a reason that this war-torn, barren country is known as The Graveyard of Empires. The Russians who went there called it “The Meat Grinder”. And we know what happened to them…

4. Homeland Security/The TSA/The Patriot Act. Nuff said.

Looking back at ten years of Post-9/11 changes to the American way of life, I am forced to admit that in some ways, the Terrorists have won. They have gotten us to change how we live and how we view others. And more important, they have made us frightened.

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