Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight Years On

We all remember where we were, physically and emotionally, eight years ago today. But where we were the day after is just as poignant. Many people say they remember the sense of unity -- not just at home but across the planet. Political parties didn't matter any more. Thousands of innocent lives had been lost.

But I also remember a fear like nothing I had ever experienced.

I had plans for the next day, September 12 -- nothing notable. I needed to take care of something at the bank with my mom, and we planned to go to the movies... and we debated briefly whether to stay home and hide. We didn't. Mom said, "why should we?" We went out. The bank only had two or three employees there that day. The manager took care of us himself. The theater was open, but only a few people attended. Our dull little suburb, on no terrorist's map, was succumbing to fear.

I'm glad I went out. I wish others had too. Eight years later, I think politicians still want to exploit the fear, and they can succeed too... with some people.

When our global conscience was gripped by fear, we enabled our government to make a bad situation worse. Why couldn't we have made it better?

(YouTube video)

We could have taken difficult but necessary steps to ease our addiction to oil. We could have passed health care reform so that the living heroes could all be taken care of. We still could. Maybe.

The unity is long gone, and the fear still lingers for some. Eight years is a long time to be scared.

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