Remembering September 11
New Yorkers, America, Terrorists and the Media will all be remembering September 11 this year, how will you?
As a New Yorker remembering September 11 is never hard, in fact they say that you will never forget where you were or what you were doing when that tragic day occurred. Six days away from the tenth anniversary, remembering September 11 seems to be the phrase most are going with, however how many actually remember exactly what they were doing when the first plane hit? Were you watching the television as the second plane came into the tower and the realization that this was not an accident struck? What was the first thought that ran through your mind? Did you lose someone you loved?
Remembering September 11 is important however realizing the terrorists got exactly what they wanted is of the utmost significance. Each year as we are remembering September 11 we are reliving it as well. On that day the terrorists struck a national nerve, piercing into the very backbone and heart of this country, succeeding in what they set out to do. Even though it has been almost ten years since the attacks on the World Trade towers, I recently learned what terrorism was in the book Columbine.
“The book asserts that Harris and Klebold were not disgruntled geeks but terrorists. Cullen uses this word dispassionately, yet repeatedly. Columbine, he says, was an act of terrorism.
He never connects the dots between Klebold and Harris’ mindset and that of, say, al-Qaida — and I, at least, wished he had because he makes crucial observations about what might actually compel someone to strap on an explosive belt or drive a car full of fertilizer into a day care center. Ultimately, his book implies that terrorism isn’t rooted in politics, religion or teenage angst, but lodged in the human brain itself — in depression and psychosis, in pathologies that are all too easily harnessed by extremism, or, in this case, by one disturbed teenage boy handing another a gun.” (Dave Cullen: The Lessons of Columbine, NPR)
While remembering September 11, I keep my mind open to the lessons of Dave Cullen found within his book Columbine. Terrorists don’t worry about the numbers as they strap a bomb onto their chest and parade into public areas. In fact with terrorism the actual act means nothing, truly it’s about the aftermath, the shockwaves that radiate throughout the human psyche via media pathways after the actual attack has been carried out.
Terrorism does not discriminate, recruiting malleable minds and capitalizing upon them. Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda are associated with the Muslim religion much in the same sense that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold are with the trench coat mafia. Ironically Muslim is a religion, not a terrorist organization and neither Harris nor Klebold belonged to the trench coat mafia. However the media highlights these terms carelessly playing into the terrorist trap. As America spends the next week remembering September 11 those who were affected the terrorists are sitting and watching their “masterpiece” unfold once again.
How am I comparing the two? In his book Cullen talks about how for Harris and Klebold Columbine was all about the pain and anguish that would be felt in the years to follow, not by just the families who lost loved ones, but across the nation as the media translated the high school shooting. Who would have thought that two seniors in high school could captivate an entire country? That is what terrorists seek to do. Columbine high school held the future, linked to the future were thousands of other educational institutions that would think, if it could happen there, it can happen anywhere.
Looking back and remembering September 11 one can see that the tragedy occurred at the height of the economy. The World Trade Center was known to be the economic center of America, something that no one else could compare too, an area that the United States believed to be invincible.
After Osama bin Laden’s death, rumors flooded the press that Bush had agreed that if we did not pursue Al Qaeda, America would have no more attacks on its soil. Perhaps that is true, however what if the terrorists have not attacked because they are able to carry out the act of terrorism by bringing us to them? Our military has been something to speak of ever since we defeated the British and declared our independence over 200 years ago. Now our military is fighting an enemy that has no face, does not play by the rules and is heartless as they brainwash their youth into believing that strapping a bomb on your chest is the way to Allah.
Listen I attend church every week, however religion is just as dangerous as terrorism if it falls into the wrong hands. Terrorism and religion are ways to organize the masses and the media is the head honcho. Please when you are remembering September 11 do not be sad, do not be down, instead be proud. Remembering September 11 means looking around you, acknowledge the military service members amongst you, shake their hands, thank them, if you can, look into the eyes of a firefighter and understand that courage is not a question it’s a way of life. What should remembering September 11 be? Remembering the men who were rushing into the burning buildings, fueled by the sheer thought of with each breath I take now I come one step closer to ensuring someone’s husband, son, wife, daughter, granddaughter, etc. can breath tomorrow.
What is my point in this article? Remembering September 11 should be exactly that. Remembering why were are in Afghanistan, remembering why my brother will be shipping off to hell on earth eventually to defend America and define freedom. As I sit here, remembering
September 11, 2001, I remember being 15 years old, sitting on the old wooden bleachers in the Miller Place High School Gymnasium, listening to the physical education teacher, Ms. Kopelman, describe the upcoming semester of weight training. I remember her going into her office, than careening out, dragging the old television on the rolling cart, all the while saying something about a Nostradamus prediction of the end of the world and if we ever made it that 9/11 became a part of history, we would remember exactly what we were doing when the planes hit the towers. Well Ms. Kopelman was right about remembering September 11, however many things have changed for me since that day.
I remember clinging to my high school boyfriend at the time, my parents allowing him to come over on a school night, because who knew what would happen in the coming days. My father watched from a hospital rooftop as a gaping hole was carved in the NYC skyline that day. What image burns in my mind however? Fear. Fear that tomorrow would never come, fear that the truth was not something I could handle, and most of all the distrust that crept into my soul when it came to the news. It would be almost seven years until I watched the news again and nearly nine years until I took back my own thoughts.
Remembering September 11, I remember that our senses can either be our best friends or our worst enemies. Please remember not to be afraid, stand strong, remain proud, because America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. You want to come onto our turf? Than you play by our rules. Do not be afraid of a terrorist attack on September 11, 2011, that is exactly what they want. The media hypes it up because its ratings, aka money. Seek the truth and you shall find it. Remembering September 11 means to remember those who died that day so others may live, remember those who served our country, are serving and will serve. Try not to complain about the small things, realizing you may be standing next to someone who would trade places with you in an instance, knowing that there are bigger issues out there that can occur and have.
Riding on the LIRR nearly every day for almost a year now I have had the privilege of meeting the ironworkers, construction crews and individuals who have been restoring/working on the World Trade Center monument/buildings. This upcoming Sunday, I will not only be remembering September 11 but I will be rebuilding the faith and hope in those around me. If someone is afraid, tell them they shouldn’t be, remind them that we have gone ten years and that as a country we need to stick together.
Remembering September 11 will be hard on the approaching tenth anniversary, however we will get through it the same way we have everything else. As a country there is nothing we can do, as Americans there is no one that can bring us down, remember that when you are remembering September 11.