Monday, September 11, 2006

The Day We Learned to Fear

Until September 11 five years ago, we thought this country was invincible. But in a few hours that morning, we learned that just a few individuals working together could wreak havoc and create unimaginable destruction. This was the day when a new level of fear was born – a fear of airplanes, a fear of cropdusters, and a fear of young men from the Middle East. Just close your eyes – you can easily picture the one on the plane that might blow it up. See how well we’ve all learned our lesson in fear?

I feel sorry for the one out of every 365 people in this country whose birthday is September 11. Instead of a day of joyous celebration, it will forever be the day that eclipsed Pearl Harbor as a trigger of sadness and bad memories – memories of people falling out of burning skyscrapers, memories of those same skyscrapers collapsing into themselves, memories of brave police and firefighters that went into to save the people and never came out.

But this was just the beginning. Since September 11, we have learned to be afraid of rental trucks, shoes, bottles of baby formula, Swiss Army knives, knitting needles, white powder, and any number of other things. New objects to fear are invented daily. Traveling has become an unbelievable ordeal as we struggle to check off and check out all the things we have been programmed to fear.

Our buildings have even learned to be afraid as we began a never-ending program to make them all fortresses. The Capitol grounds now have little posts everywhere so no crazed terrorist can drive in. There are barriers and new high sidewalks being continuously erected around every national monument in the city.

Many elections have been won on a platform of security from the threat of terrorism. So many people are willing to cast their hat with the one who paints the most striking picture of doom and gloom and promises protection to believing citizens (and recommends that all the would-be terrorist non-citizens be deported).

Once we got beyond the initial carnage and destruction wrought by that small band and the debris had all been cleared away, we still had a legacy of that day in the fear that was birthed. It will be with us forever as a reminder.


Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I'm going to echo my comment on Old lady's blog today.
Even way up north here in Canada,we will never forget the horror. The images of those planes flying into the twin towers made an ocular burn on the retina that will never be soothed by any salve.

I was teaching a Gr. 3 reading lesson when someone came to the door to tell me. Everyone was to tell the children nothing at this point. Recess was 20 minutes later, and those without duty gathered in the library where tv's were set up. We sat spellbound....we spoke not a word. We let the children out of school a little early and they were instructed to go directly home. Everyone was just in shock.

I find it scary that this happened so easily and could again. No number of little posts and barriers can stop terrorists if they really want to attack.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MOI -- I agree that little posts and barriers are not enough if someone is really determined to do damage. I just fear that life as we know it could become unbearable as we add more and more to the list of things about which we have to be concerned. It's a balancing act and I think we are still striving to find that balance point as a society.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous divad said...

good analysis. and what is sad is that this is not something that will go away any time soon. we are in a long protracted "war" of cultures.

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I feel sorry for the one out of every 365 people in this country whose birthday is September 11."

For the record, usually more than one person is born each day.

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