19 years removed from The 9-11
We are now 19 years removed from Sept. 11, 2001, the day that is remembered as second only to Dec. 7, 1941, in the minds of many.
A few things stand out in my mind as I sit in the editor’s chair at The Brazil Times today as I did then.
First and foremost, our world has completely changed.
I remember using the heading on a world news page, “The World At War,” shortly after 9-11. Looking back, that sounds a little exaggerated but a little too accurate at the same time.
I questioned using that page heading in 2001, though no one ever called me on it. But in my mind we were at war like in World War II. Little did I realize our war was more like Vietnam than any other fight that I remembered from history. It was a guerilla attack by an unknown enemy.
As David Baysinger said in our interview for this Sept. 11, the enemy has changed. No longer do we look for soldiers dressed in a certain uniform, carrying a certain flag.
Now, we — all of us, soldiers and civilians alike — have to be ever vigilant for backpacks carrying bombs in malls, for long coats concealing rifles in high schools.
In the early 1940s, a driver would be considered un-American if he saw a soldier hitchhiking and didn’t pick him up. Today, you really ought not to do that.
I learned that lesson the hard way in college.
Driving north on the old Route 66 in Illinois a car pulled alongside me and a sign in the window asked me to take his rider.
I pulled over and let the rider get in. Big mistake.
When I approached the highway that would take me home, the rider said, “No, you are going to take me to East Lansing.”
I managed to talk him out of the car but that was the last time I picked up a hitchhiker.
Was he a terrorist? Was he a murderer or would he somehow cause me bodily harm? I doubt it but on this day you never know.
That was back in the ‘70s. I considered it an isolated incident, one that was fairly harmless at the time. After 9-11, I’m not so sure.
Our economy has changed.
The middle class is largely gone. Now there are wealthy people and poor people.
Our economy is a mess compared to the pre-Sept. 11, 2001, days.
Our country is divided and that division could become deeper.
Regardless of which side you are on, many of us agree that people do not get along.
It used to be said, “Don’t discuss politics or religion.”
Today, you dare not discuss politics unless you want to get into an angry argument or be physically attacked.
It used to be that our politicians in Washington would argue loud and long on the floor of the House or the Senate and then, leave for dinner together as friends.
Now, the only time a politician has anything good to say about a politician in the other party (in national politics) is after one of them dies. Sometimes not then.
But, we will make it. Our nation is resilient. We have survived 19 years after 9-11 and I’m sure we will survive much longer.
My regret is that my children and grandchildren have not experienced life before the twin towers fell and the Pentagon was bombed by airplanes and brave souls crashed the plane controlled by terrorists in Pennsylvania before it could reach its target.