Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years After...

Ten years ago today we were attacked. Nineteen fanatics, backed by alleged allies of America, commandeered four airplanes with the intent of crashing them into American icons. Two hit the World Trade Center Twin Towers, the tallest buildings in America and center of her financial services. One hit the Pentagon, the center of American military might and planning. One was brought down by the passengers; a delay in take-off resulted in the plan on the fourth plane taking place later, after folks had started to hear what was going on. It is theorized that plane was headed for Washington DC, with the White House or the Capitol as potential targets.

Ten years later, I'm still angry.

In the intervening years, we've deposed totalitarian regimes, brutal dictators, and despots. We've made the world a much less hospitable place for the terrorist groups who planned this attack, and that's a good thing. We've made life a helluva lot more miserable for our own citizens, though; allowing fear and paranoia to dictate legislation that, while well-intended, has only served to further limit the freedom of the very people the terrorists are trying to kill. We have subjugated ourselves to the all-powerful government in a vain attempt for illusory security.

Ten years later, I'm still angry.

On September 11th, 2001, I held my infant son while watching the footage on television. I wondered what kind of a world he would grow up in; I wondered what life would be like raising a child in this scary new world. I agonized over joining the Armed Forces, ultimately choosing to stay with my new, growing family over military service - a choice I question still today. The thought of joining up so I could help in killing the bastards who did this was quite appealing - bloodlust isn't contained to third world shitholes with illiterate peasants. I wanted someone to die for this, and I wanted more than anything to use my own hands to do it.

Ten years later, I'm still angry.

I haven't forgotten. I will never forget what happened ten years ago. I lost a friend on Flight 77, a poster on a long-defunct political bulletin board who left behind a husband and two young daughters. We were on opposite sides of the political aisle, yet she was one of the few on the left that could actually offer up a reasonable debate based on facts - and she was unfailingly cheerful, respectful, and polite. The bastards behind 9/11 robbed us of her - and I hate them for that. Thousands like her perished; thousands of families robbed of their loved ones whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Ten years later, I'm still angry.

A friend of mine's sister lost her boyfriend. Other friends lost co-workers at the Pentagon. We all lost the feeling of invincibility from living in the United States. Prior to 9/11/01, we'd had only sporadic attacks on US soil, most of them homegrown. The Twin Towers had been attacked previously, but with a serious miscalculation in the amount of explosives needed. The Murrah Federal Building was a serious attack, but it was a group of homegrown lunatics rather than a coordinated outside force. This time, they hit us where we live, and they hit us hard.

Ten years later, I'm still angry.

There should be at least one smoking radioactive crater somewhere in the Middle East over 9/11. Japan hit a military installation and we dropped two nuclear weapons there to end a horrible war. Overwhelming force, with the very credible threat of more to come, ended WWII and the ability of the German and Japanese armies to wage war. A show of horrible force - somewhere in the hinterlands of Afghanistan or remote Pakistan - to send a clear message that any government that harbored these terrorists would pay dearly would have started to even the score. Started.

Ten years later, I'm still angry.

Ten years in, we've by and large forgotten that day. A failing economy and crumbling infrastructure take precedence over a war thousands of miles away, a largely sterile war where casualties happen to someone else. It's disheartening to see the media take a significantly reduced interest in the wars overseas simply because the political party of the president has changed - while the spotlight was shone brightly on the military losses under President Bush, they have been all but forgotten now that there's a new president in office. We lose sight of the sacrifice these brave men and women make at our own peril - nothing less than the very survival of our nation is at stake in their selfless decision to fight for their country.

Ten years later, I'm still angry.

We visited the Pentagon this past spring. Newbius and OldNFO were kind enough to escort my family and I through the largest office building in the world. We had lunch in the courtyard, and had pockmarks on the inside of the building pointed out to us from the 9/11 attack. We visited the chapel, quietly reflecting on the event of that day and the very personal human toll even in this vast building of military power. Even in the very center of the American military machine, there's a reminder that war touches us all, especially when it takes non-traditional forms.

Ten years later, I'm still angry.

Today, I'm watching my son play his first football game. He's ten years old and has no personal recollections of 9/11, given that he was seven months old when it happened. He's heard about it in school, and we talked with him at the Pentagon and while we were in Washington DC this spring, but it has the same effect as Pearl Harbor on my parents generation. He knows it's big; that it's important to his parents, but to him it's just a historical event, not something that will stay with him the rest of his days. To him, today's his first football game and nothing else - and I would give anything to be able to fully share this day with him.

Ten years later, I'm still angry.

After the game, we're going to take a quiet moment to reflect, then take care of the myriad little things that pop up on the weekends. I fear that, for the vast majority of my fellow Americans, today is little more than any other Sunday, and I am certain that the NFL games on this afternoon will hold more interest for most than in any remembrance. But not for me. Rather than stay home and watch a game this afternoon, I'm going to the range. I'm bringing a shotgun and a .308 with me - I need some serious recoil therapy today. In a perfect world there would be Tannerite and a mannequin made up like bin Laden involved, but we'll have to settle for paper.

Ten years later, I'm still angry.


That is all.


Unknown said...

Straight to the heart of it. Thank you, Jay.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I seem to have somethng in my eye again. It's been happening all day.

Anonymous said...

I have to work today, and when a friend and I opened our computers we saw all the MSM tributes.

My first real words of the day were, "I don't feel patriotic...I still feel angry!"

Thank you Jay, for sharing and putting better words than I would have used to my feelings!


Old NFO said...

I do, as you well know...

Stithjim said...

Couldn't go today because of work, but yesterday I took four people who have never shot a gun outside a video game to the range.

Recoil therapy indeed.

Eck! said...

Indeed Jay, thanks.

And yes, I'm also still angry.


Bubblehead Les. said...

10 years ago, I was Red-Hot Angry. Today, I'm not Red -Hot Angry. "Revenge is a Dish Best served Cold". Somewhere, someway, some U.S. Service Person or Secret Squirrel is working on a "Evolution in Action" Mission, and as each Terrorist goes down, I feel better.
This will take a few years, kinda like the Plains Indian Wars of the 19th Century, so be patient.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the still angry. Why is it Germany just recently finished paying off their debt for losing WW II, yet when we are attacked, when the fighting is done, we then go spend money to fix what we destroyed in some far off land. Why didn't we bomb the ever loving hell out of that waste that is the middle east claiming responsibility, then just leave a not that said, "don't make us come back."

Yes, still angry about a lot of things post 9/11.


PJS said...

Well said.

IZinterrogator said...

I had hoped to commemorate the anniversary by shooting a terrorist in the face in Afghanistan today for you, Jay. Alas, my unit's deployment cycle wasn't cooperating. Maybe next year. I'll still be angry.

Bushwack said...

Perfect. Here's something that strikes me as FUBAR:

1. In America we built the twin towers within 5 years. (Actually closer to 4) NOW it's been 10 years and they aren't even close to being done. WHY? That's right children Government regulation and pandering to special interests.

2. on September 7th 1951, I don't remember America running around in a panic because the Japs might attack again.... Does anyone else see a problem with that?

HankH said...

Well put Jay. I took my 17 year old daughter to the range, and after that we came home and had yummy BLTs. I hope you consumed some pork products today. Damn those savages.


.45ACP+P said...

Spent Saturday and Sunday helping other Americans shoot rifles better. Appleseed seemed the ideal way to give back. Pulling a trigger on 9/11 is most satisfying. We held a moment of silence at 0846. I will not forget, no one has asked my forgiveness, I too, am still angry.