That time of the year has rolled around again. The time we all remember. Where we were. What we were doing. How we felt when we heard or saw or experienced the towers tumbling down. Some of us were there and saw it first hand. Others watched it on TV. And others, like myself, heard it on the radio. Still others heard about it hours later, from friends and relatives and colleagues.
Disbelief warred with our ears and our eyes. Such things cannot happen to us. We’re the United States of America. But the eyes and ears of the camera prove to us that, yes, such things can and do happen. We were innocent. We are innocent no longer.
Now we sit and take stock of the last six years, wondering and worrying about the path the US has taken since that time, and we wonder how we can get our squandered goodwill back, working as best as we can to help the process along. A dwindling number think that the fact that we’ve not yet had another attack on our soil proves we’re doing the right thing in Iraq, even though our actions there are helping to foster and foment terrorism there and elsewhere.
Some still grieve, for the people and our innocence. Some wonder, “Why do we keep going back?” Some just feel numb.
I sit and think about the soldiers and civilians who have died in Iraq and elsewhere, in a misguided attempt to keep from “fighting them over here.” My intellect – along with a portion of my heart – reminds myself that it was a miracle we went so many decades without a terrorist attack. We were the lucky ones. I remind myself that the first terrorist attacks on US soil were by US citizens, not the swarthy foreigners we’ve been told we should distrust since 2001. I remind myself that there are all too many areas in the US that continue to live as if in a terror state, crime and poverty and hopelessness seizing Americans and holding them hostage. Areas where the billions of dollars we’re spending on an unjust, illegal war in a foreign land would be better spent taking care of our own.
My intellect thinks it was past time we lost our innocence. It was – and is – past time we left our adolescence.
Most of my heart, and all of my soul, wonders at what cost.
Sometimes still longing for the innocence of days past, my mind’s eye replays the scene from over half a decade ago, still weeping for those lost then and in the subsequent years.