Remembering 9/11 and Comparing Today

 

I remember 9/11 like most of you.  Time seemed to stop that day and the clock didn’t seem to resume for weeks and longer.  I was at my desk at work, and our receptionist came running through the front door and hollered, “Smitty – turn on the radio!  Something happened at the World Trade Center!”  I was known as Smitty because there were too many Lindas in my office.  I turned on the radio near my desk.  A plane had crashed into one of the towers. I thought like many that it was an accident, a control tower errored.  We were protected – how could it be anything else?

Another co-worker had a small, hand-held TV, and we huddled around it.  While the news and details were sketchy, another plane hit the second tower and I knew this was no accident.  Hell had descended in front of me on a hand-held TV.  I lived in Boston, and suddenly life changed.  Air space and Canadian borders closed.  We later learned a plane went down in Pennsylvania, diverted because it was headed for Washington, DC, and the courageous on board overcame the terrorists and it crashed in a field while those on board said goodbye on their cell phones.

My husband’s client was on one plane, the wife of a diplomat.  They weren’t sure what this was, but police were stationed at their property on my travel route to work for weeks.  Night after night, the locals that were on those planes perished, and their photos rolled across the screen during the news.  The number of photos kept getting longer.  It was surreal.  There were blood drives, and lines were long.  Firefighters were in the streets with their boots in the air asking for donations for the firefighters in New York.  I hung money out of my car window and sobbed.

One year later, on that very date, my same co-worker rushed through the front door, late for work.  She looked at me and neither of us could speak, as we both choked up and our eyes watered.  I learned what post-traumatic stress syndrome was, because I could not watch news coverage on 9/11 for several years after that without dissolving into a puddle of tears, and feeling angry.

We went to war.  Our president stood on a pile of rubble in New York with a bullhorn and shouted retaliation.  We rebuilt New York and the Pentagon.  America recovered.  We knew who we were then.  We learned we were not insulated from violent ideologies that cursed our way of life and values.  For all of our frailties, we had freedom, liberty, and justice, and it was worth preserving.

We were a culture that would go to the mat for our neighbor, our friend, and our country.  Our freedom and foundations became more sacred after 9/11. The Lincoln Memorial seemed even larger. Our monuments stood as solid reminders of strength and resilience.  They spoke silently that we’d been here before, and we’ll overcome.

Thousands signed up for the military.  We ultimately got Bin Laden, the mastermind behind 9/11, and thwarted other plans that were in the works.  That was twenty-one years ago, the details still etched in my memory.  The foundations of our democracy fought for with spirit brought forth our Constitution, wrestled into a document from simple men with a vision and unmatched in any other country to this day. Our trusted institutions, like churches, synagogues, schools, and most importantly, our families, stood firm through this crisis and got us through.

Today, however, our country now faces a different foe.  Something new is cursing our way of life and values.  This adversary doesn’t hold allegiance to a country, an ideology, or even a philosophy.  This adversary’s tactics neuter all freedom, liberty, and justice.  It showed up as a virus, but it wasn’t just a new illness.  It was something more – an invisible demon from another dimension.  Forces that seemed to come together to fight a virus left our country, and the world in a completely altered state.

In this new world, a red MAGA hat or political bumper sticker has become a threatening symbol.  Our current president yells from a hellish red background that the new enemy might be your neighbor.  Your political and personal views are a target.  Your voice is something to be censored, threatened, and ridiculed.  Your sleeve must be rolled up to receive this new injection – this new way of thinking.

Instead of blood drives and candle-lit worship services, this new adversary tells us right is wrong and up is down.  There is no truth, no freedom as we knew it then – on September 11, 2001.

There is a new war with new targets.  This adversary has the entire world, not just America, convinced that it must silence any and all that oppose its indoctrination and political correctness, now something called Woke.   Men are no longer men, and masculinity is a problem.  Women may not be women, and children might be a burden, adding to the overcrowded footprint that’s leading to climate destruction.  We can change our gender if we’re not happy, or add several new genders with a few shots and surgery.  Our race or skin color might be an issue.  Marriage is now old fashioned and we’re told sacrifice for love or country is not worth setting aside our own self-satisfaction, while we take another selfie for social media.  Patriotism and love of country and its history is wrong thinking, and should be apologized for, erased and replaced by the new Woke thinking.

A story by Naomi Wolf describes this change from a personal perspective, yet I could see bits of my own life in her words.  Anyone who went through the trauma of 9/11 can see today’s enemy is different than anything we’ve ever faced, and will take every person’s efforts to fight this new battle.  Our Founders were counting on it.

Here is a quote from her story:

“The old world I left behind, and that left me behind, is not a post-COVID world.   It is a post-truth world, a post-institutional world.   The institutions that supported the world that existed when these 2019 boxes were packed, have all collapsed; in a welter of corruption, in an abandonment of public mission and public trust.  I look at them now the way Persephone looking backward without regret at Hades.”  Naomi Wolf – Opening Boxes from 2019

https://naomiwolf.substack.com/p/opening-boxes-from-2019?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

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  1. Retail Lawyer Member
    Retail Lawyer
    @RetailLawyer

    Terrific post!  The boxes got so shaken up and disheveled that I agree with Naomi Wolf.

    • #1
  2. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    If 9/11 happened today, knowing what we know, would we still support it?  And it’s  wars?  I am not sure I would.

    Recently I had a Liberal toss the old America Love it or Leave it quote at me.  They may be right.  Might be time to leave if I can figure out where to go.

    • #2
  3. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    If 9/11 happened today, knowing what we know, would we still support it? And it’s wars? I am not sure I would.

    Recently I had a Liberal toss the old America Love it or Leave it quote at me. They may be right. Might be time to leave if I can figure out where to go.

    That it might be time to go has always been in the back of my mind. That there would be no where to go never occurred to me.  (Not said by me, but a variation was said by someone, and it reverberates in my mind)

    • #3
  4. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    I look back on me on 9-10-2001 and me on 9-12-2001 as two different people. 9-12-2001 is the day when people like me realized that we didn’t live in a post-history; that history still happened. Our lives had been so blessed, we thought that all the stuff that was going to happen … had already happened.

    A startling realization. And a realization that I hoped prepared us for the past few years. When events worthy of 10 or 20 year retrospection seem to be occurring at a dizzying rate.

    As to FJ/JG’s comment above; that very question has put years on my odometer. I have two sons who have served since 9-11; one is sitting in my living room now. (I noticed last night he has crow’s feet. I can almost deal with the fact I’m 64. I can not deal with the fact I have a son who has crow’s feet.) He was in the 8th grade when 9-11 happened. While the Marines had always been in his sights, 9-11 put some steel in his spine. His younger brother enlisted at the age of 20.

    Would I have been so supportive then if I knew what I know now?

    Because what I didn’t know then, and what I know now, is that you don’t spend decades of time, and blood, and treasure, on an effort you have an intention to win.

    • #4
  5. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    If 9/11 happened today, knowing what we know, would we still support it? And it’s wars? I am not sure I would.

    Recently I had a Liberal toss the old America Love it or Leave it quote at me. They may be right. Might be time to leave if I can figure out where to go.

    That it might be time to go has always been in the back of my mind. That there would be no where to go never occurred to me. (Not said by me, but a variation was said by someone, and it reverberates in my mind)

    My wife and I have spent 25 years looking for our place on the earth.  Bangkok is vibrant and productive.  Rome is regal and refined.  Costa Rica is raw and wild.  Nowhere we’ve been has been as good as the US.  Things may have changed in the last two years, but there’s still nothing better that I know of.

    I was thinking of a guy named Chuck Missler today.  Several years ago, as an old man, he began moving his whole Christian ministry business from Coeur d’ Alene to New Zealand, thinking it was the best and safest place on earth.  Looks now like he may have made a mistake.

    • #5
  6. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    He should have moved to Australia.

    (What’s happened in New Zealand?)

    • #6
  7. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Nowhere else in the world do you find a large fraction of the population believing self defense is a natural right, and in the right to the tools to act on it.

    I will stay and fight.

    • #7
  8. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    If 9/11 happened today, knowing what we know, would we still support it? And it’s wars? I am not sure I would.

    Recently I had a Liberal toss the old America Love it or Leave it quote at me. They may be right. Might be time to leave if I can figure out where to go.

    That it might be time to go has always been in the back of my mind. That there would be no where to go never occurred to me. (Not said by me, but a variation was said by someone, and it reverberates in my mind)

    My wife and I have spent 25 years looking for our place on the earth. Bangkok is vibrant and productive. Rome is regal and refined. Costa Rica is raw and wild. Nowhere we’ve been has been as good as the US. Things may have changed in the last two years, but there’s still nothing better that I know of.

    I was thinking of a guy named Chuck Missler today. Several years ago, as an old man, he began moving his whole Christian ministry business from Coeur d’ Alene to New Zealand, thinking it was the best and safest place on earth. Looks now like he may have made a mistake.

    I agree – this is the best place and worth our support.

    • #8
  9. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    9-11? That was the thing that was not as bad as January 6, right? 

    • #9
  10. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    9-11? That was the thing that was not as bad as January 6, right?

    Exactly. These people are out of their minds.

    We do not have to leave, we just have to start fighting, start saying No. Start saying Prove it. Start saying I’m sorry, but you are just wrong, it’s as simple as that. Start saying You can’t have my country.

    Remember that great line from Manhunter:

    Hannibal Lecter: Well you caught me, you must be pretty smart.

    Will Graham: I had an advantage.

    Hannibal Lector: And what was that?

    Will Graham: You’re insane.

     

    • #10
  11. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    9-11? That was the thing that was not as bad as January 6, right?

    They’re comparable if you ask our Vice President. Trump supporters are just like the 9/11 terrorists. 

    We’re in so much trouble. 

    • #11
  12. Postmodern Hoplite Coolidge
    Postmodern Hoplite
    @PostmodernHoplite

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    If 9/11 happened today, knowing what we know, would we still support it? And it’s wars? I am not sure I would.

    Recently I had a Liberal toss the old America Love it or Leave it quote at me. They may be right. Might be time to leave if I can figure out where to go.

    That it might be time to go has always been in the back of my mind. That there would be no where to go never occurred to me. (Not said by me, but a variation was said by someone, and it reverberates in my mind)

    Occasionally, Mrs. Hoplite will suggest such an option. (“The government is getting so crazy, maybe it’s time to think about going somewhere else!”)

    My reply to her is always the same: Where in the world would we go?

    As it stands, we are moving towards what will be our “last” house: defendable terrain, sustainable hunting and fishing, land for gardens and fruit trees. I’m too old to run, and too stubborn to quit. So, here I’ll stand.

    • #12
  13. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):
    Might be time to leave if I can figure out where to go.

    “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”

    ― Ronald Reagan, A Time for Choosing: The Speeches of Ronald Reagan, 1961-1982

    • #13
  14. EJHill+ Podcaster
    EJHill+
    @EJHill

    Between Pearl Harbor and the formal surrender of the Japanese aboard the USS Missouri, 1,365 days went by.

    Imagine putting 9/11 behind us by June 7, 2005.

    • #14
  15. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    9-11? That was the thing that was not as bad as January 6, right?

    They’re comparable if you ask our Vice President. Trump supporters are just like the 9/11 terrorists.

    We’re in so much trouble.

    That is the way I see it.  How long before they start going down voter roles and punishing those that voted for Trump, or the people Trump endorses?   Each Election Day we go and “officially” declare our political thoughts and desires.  Since those conflict with the government that info can and will be used against us.

    • #15
  16. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    EJHill+ (View Comment):
    Imagine putting 9/11 behind us by June 7, 2005.

    Who knew that twenty years later, we would be surrendering to the Taliban? 

    • #16
  17. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    EJHill+ (View Comment):
    Imagine putting 9/11 behind us by June 7, 2005.

    Who knew that twenty years later, we would be surrendering to the Taliban?

    I suspect before it is over we will be supporting them.

    • #17
  18. Chowderhead Coolidge
    Chowderhead
    @Podunk

     

    Brian Sweeney was my classmate in high school. 

    When Julie Sweeney Roth first saw Brian Sweeney, she told a friend “that’s the kind of guy [she] would marry.” Seven months later, she and Brian had their wedding on Cape Cod, a place Brian had always loved and where the couple would eventually live permanently. 

    In the months before September 11, 2001, Brian, a former pilot and instructor for the United States Navy, got a job with a defense contractor, allowing him to primarily work from home or bring his laptop to the beach. Julie was set to continue her career as a teacher after the summer. 

    On 9/11, Julie was teaching in her high school classroom when she was pulled away to answer a phone call from her mother-in-law, Louise. She told her that Brian was a passenger on what turned out to be highjacked Flight 175, the plane that crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

    https://www.911memorial.org/connect/blog/one-passengers-powerful-message-his-wife-911

     

    • #18
  19. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    If 9/11 happened today, knowing what we know, would we still support it? And it’s wars? I am not sure I would.

    Recently I had a Liberal toss the old America Love it or Leave it quote at me. They may be right. Might be time to leave if I can figure out where to go.

    That it might be time to go has always been in the back of my mind. That there would be no where to go never occurred to me. (Not said by me, but a variation was said by someone, and it reverberates in my mind)

    My wife and I have spent 25 years looking for our place on the earth. Bangkok is vibrant and productive. Rome is regal and refined. Costa Rica is raw and wild. Nowhere we’ve been has been as good as the US. Things may have changed in the last two years, but there’s still nothing better that I know of.

    I was thinking of a guy named Chuck Missler today. Several years ago, as an old man, he began moving his whole Christian ministry business from Coeur d’ Alene to New Zealand, thinking it was the best and safest place on earth. Looks now like he may have made a mistake.

    It’s strange. I remember reading for years that NZ always scored highest on something called The Liberty Scale (or something like it), wherein the degrees of separation between the average citizen and the government were measured. When measured that way, NZ always looked attractive. Were the people doing the measuring really, really wrong? Or has something important really, really shifted?

    My family and I were laughing (ruefully) about this very subject last night. For generations “oh well, there’s always Canada” was in the back of our minds. Not any more, it’s not. I’ve had a lifelong and close relationship with Canada and many people who dwell there. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I will probably never see again Canada (except from a distance) and the people I love who live there.

    • #19
  20. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Chowderhead (View Comment):

     

    Brian Sweeney was my classmate in high school.

    When Julie Sweeney Roth first saw Brian Sweeney, she told a friend “that’s the kind of guy [she] would marry.” Seven months later, she and Brian had their wedding on Cape Cod, a place Brian had always loved and where the couple would eventually live permanently.

    In the months before September 11, 2001, Brian, a former pilot and instructor for the United States Navy, got a job with a defense contractor, allowing him to primarily work from home or bring his laptop to the beach. Julie was set to continue her career as a teacher after the summer.

    On 9/11, Julie was teaching in her high school classroom when she was pulled away to answer a phone call from her mother-in-law, Louise. She told her that Brian was a passenger on what turned out to be highjacked Flight 175, the plane that crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

    https://www.911memorial.org/connect/blog/one-passengers-powerful-message-his-wife-911

     

    Wow – still no words…..

    • #20
  21. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    If 9/11 happened today, knowing what we know, would we still support it? And it’s wars? I am not sure I would.

    Recently I had a Liberal toss the old America Love it or Leave it quote at me. They may be right. Might be time to leave if I can figure out where to go.

    That it might be time to go has always been in the back of my mind. That there would be no where to go never occurred to me. (Not said by me, but a variation was said by someone, and it reverberates in my mind)

    My wife and I have spent 25 years looking for our place on the earth. Bangkok is vibrant and productive. Rome is regal and refined. Costa Rica is raw and wild. Nowhere we’ve been has been as good as the US. Things may have changed in the last two years, but there’s still nothing better that I know of.

    I was thinking of a guy named Chuck Missler today. Several years ago, as an old man, he began moving his whole Christian ministry business from Coeur d’ Alene to New Zealand, thinking it was the best and safest place on earth. Looks now like he may have made a mistake.

    It’s strange. I remember reading for years that NZ always scored highest on something called The Liberty Scale (or something like it), wherein the degrees of separation between the average citizen and the government were measured. When measured that way, NZ always looked attractive. Were the people doing the measuring really, really wrong? Or has something important really, really shifted?

    My family and I were laughing (ruefully) about this very subject last night. For generations “oh well, there’s always Canada” was in the back of our minds. Not any more, it’s not. I’ve had a lifelong and close relationship with Canada and many people who dwell there. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I will probably never see again Canada (except from a distance) and the people I love who live there.

    Aren’t they having a new election?  There may be change in the air on many fronts….

    • #21
  22. Chowderhead Coolidge
    Chowderhead
    @Podunk

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Chowderhead (View Comment):

     

    Brian Sweeney was my classmate in high school.

    When Julie Sweeney Roth first saw Brian Sweeney, she told a friend “that’s the kind of guy [she] would marry.” Seven months later, she and Brian had their wedding on Cape Cod, a place Brian had always loved and where the couple would eventually live permanently.

    In the months before September 11, 2001, Brian, a former pilot and instructor for the United States Navy, got a job with a defense contractor, allowing him to primarily work from home or bring his laptop to the beach. Julie was set to continue her career as a teacher after the summer.

    On 9/11, Julie was teaching in her high school classroom when she was pulled away to answer a phone call from her mother-in-law, Louise. She told her that Brian was a passenger on what turned out to be highjacked Flight 175, the plane that crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

    https://www.911memorial.org/connect/blog/one-passengers-powerful-message-his-wife-911

     

    Wow – still no words…..

    There’s not much to say. He wasn’t a close friend but I think I would have recognized him at the gate. I was supposed to be on that flight. I’ll write about it next year.

    • #22
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