Sunday, September 11, 2016

Reflections on 9/11

September 11th is America's tremendous bug-a-boo day.  Fifteen years ago, the nation realized that it really was not as secure and tranquil as we believed it to be.  I was seated with my husband in a courtroom in Manassas, Prince William County, Virginia, when the news first broke.  We were witnesses in an accident case.  We gave our testimony, and within 30 minutes, the courthouse closed.  We went home and watched the seemingly crazy news reports for several days.  I had to scramble to find a way to work, four days later, because I normally took the subway at the Pentagon - but no trains could stop there.  The stories, videos, and photographs were shocking.  I was very lucky that I was in court, and not at work on that day.
   Fifteen years later, I live 2,000 miles to the west of the east coast madness. I did not know anyone who lost their life in the multiple tragedies that occurred on that day - but I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who did lose family members.  I still grieve with them and for them.  I believe that all of those who lost their lives - innocent victims and first responders - should always be remembered with love, sadness and dignity.  I remember my feelings of horror and disbelief on that day, and in the first few weeks that followed.  America has never felt safe since then.  It feels safe to me, but not to the majority of our citizens.
  At the age of 60, I now wonder whether I feel safe because I have lived for this amount of time; if I feel safe because I am, primarily, a historian; or if I feel safe because I am (I think/hope) a pragmatist. As I look at things happening in the Middle East, and the rising tide of jihad in Islam, I feel as if I'm looking at the time period before the Crusades in the eleventh century.  Are we going to have a "Holy War" -  Christian versus Muslim, again?  But what about all the other great religions of the world, and their followers?  I do not want to see the world at war in my life time - over religion, over food and water, over natural resources, over any belief system.  I don't believe that religion can rule the world, nor do I believe in a dictatorship, either.
  It is a sad thing that the United Nations are neither united, nor representative of all the people on our planet.  We, the people of the world, of all nations, of all colors, of all creeds and beliefs, need to unite and be heard and moderate a way to mutual understanding and trust.  Otherwise, our world and it's knowledge will be lost....

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