This is the 18th remembrance of the Twin Towers, Pentagon and Flight 93.
Any of us who were old enough at the time can identify where we were, what we were doing.
For my generation, previously the impact had been President Kennedy’s assassination closely followed by Martin Luther King, Jr. For the slightly younger group, it was the death of Princess Diane.
But in 2001 – the whole world changed in relation to how we felt, how we looked at others. Worse, in how many started treating others actively and discriminatorily simply based on skin tones, facial structure or a panic based not on fact but fear. One of my fellow officers started using his orders and ID card when traveling rather than his passport simply so that he, as an early 40s African-American man, didn’t pulled out of line for a strip search every time he flew. Obviously, that army colonel could be confused with a terrorist.
It changed our view of war from relief of being done with the Cold War to an obsession with asymmetrical warfare with a heavy emphasis on Non-State players. We, the US as a country, reverted to much of the same behavior as we had done in South America in the 1950s and 1960s and were surprised when the results were not exactly sterling. We reaped the results of our covert battles with the Russians in Afghanistan and were stunned when the Taliban turned against us.
Our behavior on the world stage has not always been that which we can point to in retrospect with pride.
Let none of that hinder you in looking back. Being awed by those, “just doing their jobs,” who responded to the World Trade Center in New York, many of whom gave their lives then or have suffered long term medical impairment since. Those from all the countries who at the Twin Towers that day, visiting, for meetings or currently being assigned to work in NYC. To the family, friends and colleagues who we lost between one minute and the next. Think of the military and civilians who died at the Pentagon where we can only be grateful that the new section was not completely in use. Where the chance to use a new conference room, unknowing to the planners, would result in death. And to those of Flight 93, bringing that fourth plane down in Pennsylvania at the cost of their own lives. Preventing the deaths of hundreds to thousands more hand that plane reached its Washington DC target.
Once again, I commend Exhibit 13 by Blue Man Group to you.