I talked to a friend via social media earlier today, and he mentioned that everything is not what it seemed regarding September 11th, 2001. I tend to agree with him, but I already had in mind my thoughts for my annual post to remember these innocent victims. I told my friend as much, and I hope he will read these words later today.
But the bottom line here is that those 2997 people that died that day... they were victims. They were victims of evil, whether you think it was some strange mysterious inside job, or you think terrorists are the sole source of the attack that day... on THIS day, every year, what should matter is that these people were innocent. They did nothing to deserve to die that day. These people, from different cultures, and different backgrounds, who had families of their own that they had hoped to see again later that same day - deserve to be remembered because it is a shame that such a tragedy ever happened.
So as I thought about how they should be remembered (I've heard the memorial in New York is an emotional experience and probably does a fine enough job I am sure) in my post, and I asked myself...
Where would they want us to be NOW, as a nation?
Not many people want to think about their own death; I am sure these people would've told us that most of them never wanted to be remembered in some huge memorial. I am even more sure that had they been given a choice, to either be remembered dying the way they did, or living out their days - I think we can agree they would've wanted to live on (I guess there is a theological view that that might not be entirely accurate by this point ).
But think about what has happened since 9-11-2001.
Security security security - has been the name of the game in every nation on Earth since that day. Global travel has made all agencies everywhere hyper-aware of the coming and going of all peoples. Sporting events have changed their protocols and fans of sports have to plan their arrival based on how long they think it might take to get through security checkpoints at the portals of entry into said sporting events. America used to think, because we were so exceptional and ahead of the game in military might (we have been for a while now), that nothing would happen here. But then someone gave us a 'big black eye' (Toby Keith)....and security EVERYWHERE changed. A question perhaps for a different post altogether could be - can there be TOO MUCH security?
Islam - Islam itself has earned its own black eye, in the public eye. Muslims, while usually peaceful people, had a difficult time with this event in history. There are some who because of America's involvement in their nations' affairs, they thought America deserved something - but even they were dumbfounded by such an evil act. Islam itself was a mystery for most; not many Americans knew that much about the 'religion' of Islam; and they certainly weren't aware of its true history or politics. Once the towers fell - EVERYONE was interested! Now political correctness has stifled some of the exploration and revelation of some of the hard truths of Islam, but let's face it - 9-11 brought Islam to the forefront, and the world has looked at it differently, for better or for worse.
Division - On September 12th, 2001, I cannot recall many other days in history where America had more reason to find common ground, ignore politics, and come together as a nation. But Starting September 13th and onward, division raised its ugly head and made its presence known in America. And now we are more divided now than in recent history; perhaps things haven't been this divided politically since the 1960s. Republicans and Democrats, Christians and Muslims, LGTBQ? community and anyone 'straight,' men and women, NRA and pacifists, police and black lives... you name it, there is a 'team' to pull for, a side to stand with. Don't get me wrong; we've had many of these subgroups for eons. But the urgency to pick one has been magnified by........you guessed it - the media.
Media - The media response, the initial response, was about what we would've expected for its day. Not good; not bad...it just was. It made us very aware, and some pundits wanted to block out the horrible tragedy and didn't want to see video anymore; some decided to play it and play it and play it. Yes there was some spin back then, but if the same event happened just these 18 years later? Forget about it, as New Yorkers say. You know most of the media would want to scream 'It's this group's fault' or 'It's that guy's fault'. The talking heads would say all kinds of irreverent things about why they think this country brought all this on, and half their audience would bob their heads along . The media today would make every effort to exploit this event, if it happened today, to sell, sell, sell. But wait - they've always done that, haven't they?
So back to the question - Where would they want US to be, as a country, now - if we could ask them?
I would like to think they'd want us to have a balance in security and peace; since we are going from the standpoint of somehow asking these people this question AFTER WHAT HAPPENED, they'd probably definitely want us to acknowledge the evil, so we could be prepared for it. But I think if they saw us today, most would think we've gone overboard. Of course that's just speculative on my part. I could be wrong. But I do think they'd want America's intelligence community to take ALL THREATS MADE, seriously. And make no mistake about it - a threat was made regarding 9-11 back in 1993!
I'd like to think the victims of 9-11-2001 would want us to not hold all the blame on the attacks on Islam, and those that follow it. First of all, there were 19 alleged men involved directly. 19 in no way reflects the now 1.8 billion Muslims in the world. However, I do think those people who died would tell us to be wary of any strange behavior on the radar of intelligence, regardless of religion. I do think they'd still want us to be wary of the radicals of any religion; not just Islam. And although I think there is more going on with Islam than most of the world wants to admit, I think the victims would want us to remember the lives of the victims, and not focus too much on what caused this atrocity. That doesn't mean it's what I think should happen - but the question is, what do you think THEY would want.
I would like to think that all the victims of 9-11-2001 would want us to find a way to agree to disagree once again. I think they would see all this division, and hate, and say 'WTH?!' I think they'd want to tell us to just get over it and get along. I would like to think that the victims of 9-11, if they knew what September 12th was like, would want us all to act like we did on THAT DAY. I distinctly remember seeing people go out of their way to be nice to some stranger. I remember seeing more American flags up and on display on that day, than any day in my life. I don't remember political debate at all THAT day. Sure, some days later, Muslims wanted to suggest building a mosque nearby the old site of the WTC - but the day after, even the media got it right, and showed firefighters raising flags, police holding people's hands, and Old Glory flying EVERYWHERE.
Let's get back to that...can't we? Wishful dreaming for some, I know.
As for the media - I think the victims would tell us one thing regarding those folks, because the media amplifies all the problems we have anyway. They'd tell you to take your TV or PC; they'd tell me to take my cell phone; they'd tell my son to take the video games; they'd tell us all, at least for a while, to do one thing.....
Turn it off.
Those are just my thoughts as I ponder what the victims might want, if we could ask them.
As strange as it is to say, ol' Rodney King said it best.
"Can't we all just get along?"