In the days after 9-11, I recall how folks came together and tried to comfort one another…I remember for the first time in a long time folks would look and try to find the humanity in each other.
I remember those images of folks reaching out and trying to find deeper meaning in the tragedy that occurred. No one knew what they could really do so folks just started holding or even wearing the flag. Everywhere you looked you saw the American flag. Graffiti artists painted flags. Thugs wore flags as bandanas. Our radio station went and brought a bunch of flags to give to everyone.
I recall folks breaking down and crying uncontrollably in the streets and strangers would reach out and comfort them. For brief moment the world or at least things here in the US, seemed to stand still. All the planes were grounded and people seemed to genuinely care for one another. I’m not sure if we kept building off those feelings of upliftment. I’m not sure when they went away
In the days and weeks after 9-11 while folks were still vulnerable the seeds of revenge were planted in our heads. I recall President George Bush sternly warning the Taliban, they better give up Osama Bin Laden or there would be hell to pay. He was soon joined by British Prime Minister Tony Blair who gave a prime time speech on our networks to the nation saying the same thing and pledging Britain’s unconditional support.
I remember President Bush standing in a church with a flag in the background stating ‘Either your with us or your with the terrorists’. He was making it clear folks had better pick sides. Slowly we started to see the warm feelings we had toward one another move in the direction of war and revenge. The words ‘Love’ and ‘understanding‘ was being replaced by the word ‘payback‘.
For many our sentiments really began to turn when Bush gave his famous bullhorn speech from the middle of the rubble at Ground Zero, where he declared the ‘World hear you and soon the people who knocked down the towers would hear you’.. The crowd began chanting real loud ‘USA, USA, USA..’
I recall Reverend Jesse Jackson announcing that he was invited to meet with Taliban leaders and he wanted to go. He felt, perhaps there was a chance for us to negotiate and take a path for peace. That was quickly shut down when he got a call from then Secretary of State Colin Powell who told him fall back. There would be no peace negotiations. Such peace talk would be seen as a sign of weakness. Anyone talking about peace as a resolution was deemed un-patriotic and weak. Do folks recall that?
So as revenge became the order of the day, we began to hear lots of talk from high places about how we were gonna kick some major ass and take no prisoners. This was epitomized by football star Pat Tilman, a San Jose native with rugged GI Joe looks who gave up a lucrative contract with the Arizona Cardinals and volunteered to go fight.
The question we need to ask ourselves is 9 years later is ‘Do we feel satisfied’? Were our revenge efforts worth it?
9 years after 9-11 Osama still has not been caught. Pat Tilman is dead at the hands of friendly fire and we’re still at war in Afghanistan. The Taliban has returned and seem more defiant then ever. Even the president we installed in Afghanistan Hamid Karzai has turned out to be a corrupt, conniving individual who we’re forced to keep in power and deal with.
9 years after 9-11 we’re knee-deep in war. Why aren’t we knee-deep in love?
9 years after 9-11 why have we allowed all sorts of politicians to pimp 9-11 and send us off to fight un-winnable wars?
9 years after 9-11 we’ve seen scandal after scandal including some high-profile ones with our fire fighting heroes leaving their wives to marry the widows of fallen comrades have tarnish the memory of that dreadful day.
9 years after 9-11 we’ve seen so-called patriotic pundits like Ann Coulter publish books where she attacked and said hateful things about 9-11 widows.
9 years after 9-11 the love we’re supposed to have for one another has been hijacked by a charlatan 2 bit, ‘Koran’ (Quran) burning preacher from Florida named Terry Jones. How did this happen?
How did 9-11 become hijacked by angry people attacking one another over their religion? How did this day become hijacked opportunist politicians like Newt Gingrich and Congressman Peter King demanding that a community center/ Mosque not be allowed 2 blocks from ground Zero even though one Twin Towers actually had a Muslim prayer center?
How did we allow the memory of everyone who was killed many of them Americans of Muslim descent be obscured and demonized by Islamaphobes who are running around slashing the throats of cab drivers and vandalizing mosques 3000 miles away from Ground Zero?
9 years after 9-11 I can still I recall the distinct smell from the towers that permeated Ground Zero months after the towers fell. The plan in those waning days was to build a serene tree lined park & memorial. People spoke emphatically about not allowing any buildings or any commercial development. It was to be sacred ground. Sadly over the 9 years that somehow all that changed. The area around Ground Zero has everything from strip clubs to fast food joints and on the day we should all be remembering those who lost their lives we have angry mobs shouting at each other.
I still cant get the sight of people trapped on those floors jumping out of buildings or those eerie photos showing people still alive crying for help on those top floors moments before the tower fell. Such memories should not be obliterated by the circus that is now 9-11. Shame on all those corporate owned mainstream media outlets for their participation in this. They could’ve easily set a vastly different tone.
Many people used to say George Bush and hawkish-revenge seeking policies squandered the good feelings and good will people around the world had toward us after 9-11. However, after hearing and seeing the vitriol & hate we’ve allowed to dominate our space over the past few months, we can’t say Bush alone squandered this. We did.. All of us
Condolences to those who lost loved ones. Special prayers to the families of restaurant workers, janitors, secretaries and regular 9-5 man who woman who was barely making it prior to 9-11 and hence their families did not get a hefty payoff when settlement checks were issued. Many of them have been hidden in the shadows all but forgotten after all these years.
Some say revenge is a dish served cold. I say revenge is a dish not served at all.. How about we try loving those who lost and loving those we have before they are lost..
F— You Terry Jones and people like him for reminding us just how ugly people can be even on the most sacred of days.
Something to ponder
written by Davey D