Sunday, September 11, 2011

Obligatory 9/11 Post

Sometimes it feels redundant to make yearly posts like this, particularly because Meg Cabot sums the whole thing up so beautifully in this post, which she reposts yearly. Please go read her post to memorialize the thousands of wonderful people we lost and the tragic, and yet inspirational, effect this had on a city I didn't get to know until after the attacks.

I don't have the knowledge to do that.

What I can reflect about is this:  it's been ten years. The world has changed immeasurably, and I think I finally have to accept that it's not going to go back.

I have a different perspective than a lot of people whose blogs I've read about this.

I was twelve years old the day the planes hit the towers, and I didn't understand it at all.

I remember little things. A classmate asking why, because this Osama guy must be rich, we couldn't just bomb his mansion. My aide asking my ex-navy teacher if he was okay, and not quite understanding why he wouldn't be. My sister telling me that with two bases nearby, we'd be next. George Bush mispronouncing terrorist as "tourist" and being amused by that.

All of these are stupid, self-oriented things, and by default this post will be somewhat selfish because that's how I perceived 9/11. I saw the way it altered my world. At twelve, I definitely didn't fully-comprehend the amount of deaths, or what this meant for the country.

I was growing up in the barely-post Clinton era. I feared school shootings and bomb threats, in the abstract. But really, I'd never been anything but safe. Then this happened and the world became unsafe. But stubborn kid that I was, I kept expecting things to revert and go my way.

We wouldn't always be forced to take our shoes off at TSA screenings.

One day you'd be able to meet people at the gate again.

We'll destroy Al-Queda, the war will end, and we'll stop talking about it.

None of that has happened. And the way I see it, ten years from now maybe the world will have progressed. Maybe someone will acknowledge we're a global society and some restraints will be lifted, but the knowledge and memory of this time will be there. Nothing will be as carefree again.

We'll have lost a lot of trust. As a kid, I remember going through security to meet people at the airport. It was an adventure, not an inconvenience. And I think that can be said about a lot of things these days.

Maybe that's the crux of my wish for the world in another ten years. I hope we learn to trust again, the way a twelve-year-old kid did until a group of terrorists with a name she couldn't pronounce changed her entire world.