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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

First up on my road to recovery, memories about ten years ago. 

Where was I the day that America was attacked? 

I was in 8'th grade science class, thank you.  Kiser Middle School, I remeber it was...  The day was looking to be like any other day.  Then, around (near) 9-ish(?), a secretary (maybe) was running down the hallway, and made it to our room.  She told us that something had happened, and we were prompted to turn to the news.  What we saw was utterly confusing and shocking: the north tower of the WTC was in smoke.

That's when the panic began for us students, as I recall.  We still went through the rest of class, I think.  If my memory's fuzzy, it sure isn't for the next class.  We went into English and saw (I think) the south tower getting hit.  And then we were admonished, and the tele was turned off by the ol' stick teacher (no professors in middle school!)

At lunch, shit hit the fan.  All of us were scared that we were next!  That was founded on Greensboro's oil reserves just out of town.  Unlike my sister and her high school manations at the time, we at Kiser did not get to go home early.  So all we could do was continue class with our minds elsewhere.

To be fair though, we did see a good chunk of news thereafter.  And I think that included the towers falling, and imagry of the Pentagon aflame.  It was horrible.  None of us had ever seen anything like this, nor could comprehend how it could happen to us (the country).

And we didn't find out fully that it was the act of terrorists until afternoon.  After school, I remember going to my cousin's house, with much of the nearby family there.  And it was all about following further developments of the 9/11 fiasco.

I will say, we did have a relative living in New York at the time.  Our cousin Will Blythe, to be exact.  It was to our relief that he was okay.  But I fully knew that so many had lost their lives that day.  It was unthinkable.

The other thing I remember that day was watching George W.'s adress to the nation that evening.  It was a stirring speech, I'll say.  But little did we know what was to come.

So, what came of 9/11?  Our nation found a renewed sense of patriotism, most immediently.  But there are obvious lasting effects as well.  The media was purged of WTC references and terrorism-esque content was backed off from.  Airports would be tightened like never before, made more restrictive for passengers and their relations that could no longer enter the gate.

I also remember 9/11 as marking the beginning of the slide of the economy.  Remember the record decline week just after the attacks, and the market opened back up for trade (whew)?  Well, in years since, gas prices have risen to record average highs, and the confidence of Wall Street was never the same after the financially-driven WTC fell.  I don't think it was a coincidence.

Politically, that's where the real deal began for the US.  We had the anthrax scares, and the horribly racist Patriot Act.  We saw the rise and controversy of Guantanamo Bay (see: 2004's photo contro).  America created a War on Terror, first as a drive to take out Saddam Hussein (apparantly, we pinned this on him), and Osama bin Laden (who years later took responsibility for the attacks).  And, most importantly, there was the start of the most controversial war since Vietnam back in the 70s.

And hey, my father was one of thousands who went to Iraq (and Baghdad, too).  Luckily, he was fine, going strictly for lawyering stuff (sic).  The controversy lies with how the war felt so pointless at times.  And how many lives were spent because of it.  We're searching for what now?  Weapons of mass destruction?  The real destruction was the mass of terrorists who suicide bomed themselves and blew innocents to kingdom come. 

I don't know what God they're praying to for strength.  But it sure ain't the right one.

In the last few years, we've been seeing retribution for what came of us.  Saddam was brought to justice (not that 9/11-related, but it was all good).  We got a better, Democratic President.  And he's been withdrawing troops from Iraq to the point of few if none at all.  We helped Iraq create a Democratic government (small steps at a time, right?)  And, just this past May, we snuffed out the most hunted man of the last 10 years: Osama himself.  And the news came to us in a surprise announcement I didn't believe at first.

Bottom line is, the world was changed forever by the attacks of Sept. 11'th, 2001.  My heart will always go out to those affected by the terrible day, and its lingering effects.

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