Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years And It's All The Same

I paused this morning at 8:03 by accident. I didn't do it on purpose and I didn't even realize what time it was until I looked at my computer screen. I was looking at CNN while the kids were jotting down some notes. It was a passing thought but a sad thought. And then later it all came to me. I don't really think much has changed.
My kids didn't say a word about what today was. It is probably not on their minds. And I think that is the prevailing opinion of a lot of people this year. It is not on our minds. Not because we have forgotten the loss. Not because we have forgotten the circumstances. But because we are moving on. It is ok to move on after a terrible tragedy. How many people, alive today, give the day of the Pearl Harbor attack a second thought? For that matter, how many people know that day is every year?
The only thing that really bothers me is what has and has not changed. Many things have come about since that day in 2001. The creation of new organizations like TSA and Department of Homeland Security are major changes. The passing of the Patriot Act also comes to mind around this time of year. But have these things made a lasting impact on American safety. I don't think so.
This morning, a news story brought up an interesting point discovered by the 9/11 Commission. The reason the hijackers were able to take what they did onto the plane was because checkers only focused on guns and explosives. But aren't we going down the same road now? Aren't we focusing too much on the smaller items like knives, boxcutters and nail files? What if a gun got past security because a checker wasn't looking for it? It is possible I fear.
We need to stop living in the past and start looking to the future. Since that day, our country has been engulfed in war. Only one of these fights is directly related to 9/11. The rest we started ourselves. Mostly based on ignorant anger and fear. 9/11 made us fearful and angry. It should have. But you don't have to lose your mind over it. You have to deal with it. We didn't deal. We lost it. We allowed things to get out of control.
Because of our fear and anger, our president was able to get special war-time powers. Powers that he has never had to give up because we have been in a constant war ever since. It's completely ridiculous. Our fear and anger has also made us blind to the facts. We didn't even need justification for war. We let it happen because we were afraid. And for that we should be ashamed.
I don't presume to know what the victims of 9/11 would tells us right now. I don't even think it matters. What matters is common sense and we aren't using it. Common sense would say that the best what to remember 9/11 is to continue living as Americans. We should not live as fearful children.

No comments: