I lost no one close to me in the 9-11 hijackings and attacks. But I remember the irrational fear when I realized there were other planes still in the air that had been hijacked and that were now transformed into weapons. The crazy person with the high powered rifle wasn't just up in a tower somewhere far away...he was in the air above us all. I felt irrational fear the same as every aware person in America.
Then there were the Towers. We heard 50,000 people then 25,000 then fewer as some escaped. Then in the days and weeks afterward it became less than 1500...almost forth of the dead would be rescuers. I read emails from a dear cousin in New York talking about the smoke cloud spreading over the city...about moving from friend's apartments to the next one to escape the cloud. It was evil somehow.
My small company had sponsored an international explorer who kayaked the upper Amazon river. Now he was in Washington working in air quality monitoring. When he heard Christine Todd Whitman, head of the EPA, say the air was safe, Pyotr took his equipment to New York. "Your country is lying to you," he told us. "This is very poisonous air."
"Your country is lying to you."
Five years later we know that Pyotr was correct on all accounts. The air was poisonous and now the brave men who sacrificed and volunteered are dying from the air. Our country has also mostly abandoned them, much like it has the people in New Orleans. They cannot work and they cannot pay for their medicine and the medicine won't make them whole again anyway. And our country lied to us.
...And kept lying and is still lying and will keep on lying until we, the people, stop them and demand the truth from now on.
In the days after 9-11 I thought of several things. I thought that the event was blown all out of proportion to its magnitude. But the twin towers got great press, even though for a city its size the loss was essentially rather small. In my own little town of 5000. we actually suffered a greater loss proportionately when a 17 year old boy was killed from drinking and driving his car into the ditch along a back road. We knew his parents and grieved for them. Everybody in our town knew them. Not everybody in new York actually knew someone in the towers but it seems like it now. In fact...the Towers were the lesser tragedy.
I also thought about how clear the sky was in the days after 9-11. Airplanes cloud the blue of our skies as well as offer tempting targets for terrorists and those whom the terrorists serve. In the clarity of these skies,however, I realized that the terrorists were also serving the evil bastards who had taken control of my country. They wanted a war. This would let them have it.
The war would also be a greater tragedy than its catylizing events. It is always so. Our warriors fight and sometimes die in a foreign land that had absolutely nothing to do with 9-11. Fighting in that far away place they do us no good in their sacrifice. We honor them with plaques and parades and cheers at the halftime of highschool football games, but the actual war is not in a foreign land or far away, and the greatest tragedy of all may be that we lose America to the control of people who just don't care for most Americans.
It does not have to be thus...But we must clarify our own air and have courage... Ignore the vapor trails of misinformation and realize the truth. 9-11 meant very little as an act but was monumental as a precursor to the actions of evil men.
Better said than I can so here...