Courage is knowing what not to fear. ~Plato
This weekend has been a time of tributes and remembrances. Countless people wrote down what they were doing on this infamous morning ten years ago, and how their lives have been changed. It's everywhere on the Internet and on the TV as well, I'm sure. Which is why I haven't turned the TV on all weekend.
But if you read one article about 9/11 this weekend, make it this one.
The writer is not a Dirty Effing Hippie. He's a retired Navy Chief Warrant Officer, and I daresay he might have a clue what he's talking about.
Today marks a decade now, since 911. In that time, we went to war and seven thousand more Americans, some of our very best, died. Tens of thousands more were maimed and scarred and damaged forever. Hundreds of thousands of innocents died. Entire countries were laid waste and we became a callous people who could look upon those devastated lands and say, well, you know they had it coming, all of those bastards had it coming including their goddamned children. We became a nation that tortures people and disappears people and detains people, including our citizens, indefinitely without trial or recourse in abject repudiation of the very spirit of our nation’s own founding – and we are unashamed of that and unrepentant. We have become a nation where, as an American, you must put aside your freedom a dozen times a day. You must show your papers. You must submit to naked body scanners and you must allow unsmiling uniformed men with the force of secret laws behind them to grope the most intimate areas of your children and yourselves. Such has become the price of freedom in America. We have become a nation where you – as an American – can be detained for a glance or a gesture or a careless word or for checking out the wrong book from the library or for worshipping the wrong God. We have become a nation where the only acceptable response to uniformed authority is immediate and polite submission, talk back, question, stand pat on the rights of previous generations and you’ll be branded an enemy. We have become a nation that claims to revere liberty and justice, but believes those things canonly be had when secret agencies monitor our every email and our every communication without warrant or probable cause.
The more I think about this, the righter it sounds. 9/11 bankrupted this country spiritually and morally, and still threatens to bankrupt us financially, which would lead to Osama Bin Laden whooping it up from his grave. He didn't have to do any of this to us--we did it to ourselves.
As Mr. Stonekettle says:
We should always remember the names of the fallen and hold them sacred.
But we need to stop covering ourselves in the blood of that day.
It's time--and past time--to move on.