Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 Remembered

The news shows are having continuous coverage of the 9/11 memorial events being held today.  I think it’s appropriate that I give my memories of what happened five years ago.

They say that people remember where they were and what they were doing at times like this.  I had been laid off from at least my 10th job in May, four months earlier.  My dreams of being a respected Computer Engineer had been shot down one more time, by another company that lacked the clarity and resolve to stay in business, and the commitment to support it’s employees careers.  I had already lost faith in humanity, and the computer industry in particular.

September 11, 2001 was six days after my birthday.  That day, I was wrapped in despair, just like every other day.  While I worked up the motivation to do another mass mailing of resumes, I whiled away the day downloading music.  Someone from the UK was commenting on a discussion board their sorrow for the attacks on our country.  I had no idea what this was referring to, so I went to the TV.  The repeating footage of the World Trade Center towers collapsing, and of the airplanes disintegrating into the buildings told the story.  Shepard Smith of Fox News had his own, almost juvenile commentary, grasping at straws to make sense of what happened.

Up until that time, New York City represented a group of people that I… disliked.  All so rude, selfish, unsociable, quick to take advantage.  I didn’t distinguish the WTC buildings from any other skyscrapers in that big, overcrowded, east coast city.  Terrorists were only something in other parts of the world, or in movies.  Even New York City was a distant place, that didn’t affect my life.  Only in the days following that event did I begin to understand its import.

I was mad.  Mad at myself for not paying attention, for my ignorance of important world events.  But still consumed with despair.  Even more despair than before.

Today, I still see people in denial of the importance of that event.  People want it to fade into the past.  People in Colorado think of it as something that happened “over there,” as if “over there” might as well be Beirut, or the Gaza Strip, or somewhere by China.

When the conspiracy theories came out, I was taken in.  I thought long and hard about the 2004 presidential election.  I concluded that President Bush ought to finish what he started with Iraq, and that he had a plan, while John Kerry had no plan.  I cast my vote early.  Not long after, I discovered the Democracy Now! program on FSTV.  The reports there, and on web sites sent to me had me convinced that Bush had actually assisted in coordinating the 9/11 attacks, and the cover-up afterward.  

When evidence to the contrary surfaced, debunking the conspiracy theories, I was mad again.  I was mad at myself for having been fooled by people who had created lies with nothing more than political gain in mind.  It was about that time that I made a commitment to stay informed.

I already had the paper route as a temporary means of income, while I figured out how to start and build my own business.  One of my New York Times customers had generated an extraneous subscription, which I took home and read a few times.  The global scope of the stories in the New York Times opened my eyes to a world outside my hometown and region, outside Colorado, and outside our national borders.  Later, I encountered some of the bloggers, many who are blogrolled in my blog’s right-hand column.  The conservative bloggers opened my eyes to the political agendas that often obscure clear judgement.

In 2003, I had the painful experience of my pet’s death.  By then, I had determined that such painful experiences are also sacred.  I decided that tragedy happens so as to give us an opportunity to make positive change.  I had committed to give back the best that I have to offer in return for whatever is given to me.  In answering a friend’s idle question of “When does it get easy?” I said, “It gets easy when you give up.”

1 comment:

Brad said...

Nice work; keep it up.