Monday, September 10, 2007

September 11th Continues

I was depressed on that crisp blue morning, so I slept through the most horrific enemy attack ever to occur on American soil. I slept through the dozens of police cars, fire engines and ambulances that roared down the boulevard under my window to Ground Zero. I slept through the collapse of both towers; ten seconds each that turned 110 stories of steel, concrete and glass into eight stories of rubble and fire and evaporated people. Once I did wake up in late afternoon, I, like most of America, sat limp and riveted to the newscasts, watching the assault and the fall, over and over again, far into the night. I was very sad and very mad and really scared.

Six years later, I’m still beside myself – not just about the nightmare of that day, but also about the outrages that have followed. I don’t hold with the conspiracy theorists who think the government either let it happen or made it happen, but I do believe that Bush & Co. have callously, brazenly, used the events of September 11th to achieve their money-grubbing, fear-mongering, power-ravenous goals. In the name of national security they have robbed us of basic civil rights and Constitutional protections. They have squelched anything resembling a loyal opposition; to them, there is no such thing. They have lied and connived the American people into the most stupid, expensive and totally unnecessary war in our history, and themselves into untold additional wealth. They are pirates and devils and couldn’t have been worse for this country if Osama bin Laden had hand-picked them to continue his demented plan.

Every time I see a movie or TV program that offers a glimpse of the towers in all their skyscraping glory, I involuntarily gasp and a vibration of crippling loss shakes within me. I wince for those who died, the loved ones they left behind and the lesser nation that we have become since the attack. I know we’ll never go back to the confidence – or complacency – that existed when those towers stood. And I fear that we may never reclaim the freedoms we lost.

I read in the New York Times last week that many people are “annoyed” with the annual day of mourning, the bagpipes and drums, the reading of the names of the dead; they think it’s time for us to “move on.” My God, that is so us: shit happens, get over it! We fear grief as much as death itself. I do think we would do well to find other, perhaps more meaningful, ways to remember the dead and uplift the living. But we don’t dare forget what we lost that day and in the years that followed. Our survival, our humanity and our democracy depend on our not forgetting – or sleeping too deeply on a crisp blue morning.

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