My memory of 9/11/2001. We watched television all day, looking for updates, watching the other attacks, and waiting for more attacks. Later in the week, spinning and misinformation began. We became very familiar with the name Osama Bin Laden and the group called Al Qaida.
Most believed the attacks of 9/11 were going to end up with America going to war. The Bush administration seemed giddy about the prospect. We didn’t know how much war would result. The wars continue. I can’t see the end game to it. Lives have been lost and destroyed. People have been maimed and injured. The attacks of 9/11 and our response still split our definition of what America is, and strives to be. Since 9/11, we’ve spiraled into fear. The fear is often stoked to manipulate voters, priorities, and patriotism.
President Bush started the wars. Some will argue OBL started it; some will argue it began with the first Persian Gulf War. Others will point to its origins as the period when the CIA armed and trained OBL and his followers in their battle against the Soviets. Others will say it began when the Brits carved up the middle east after World War I. Whenever it began, President Obama failed to end it; I have doubts that President Trump will succeed. I doubt his interest in ending it.
It’s a sad part of our history of secrets, revenge, and power.
My wife always wondered why I was up then.
I was three months into a new job, living in Half Moon Bay, California. And for some reason, on that day, I did things I didn’t do on other days. For some reason, I awoke at 5 AM. False dawn was leaning in the windows. I went downstairs. I turned on the television. Settling myself on the sofa, I turned on CNN.
All those things are contrary to my usual routines. I rarely watch TV before 6 PM, and don’t typically watch CNN. But there I was, lying on the couch, watching history. The first aircraft had struck one building. I realized the second plane had struck before the commentators as I watched the live feed.
My wife asks me, “Why were you up? Why did you turn on the television, and CNN? That’s totally unlike you.”
And I answer honestly…
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