since life as most of us in the US (and particularly those of us who were active duty at the time) literally saw our world crash and burn. As a country, somehow we were shocked to be attacked on our home ground. An experience that all too many in the rest of the world had been living with for centuries. Whether those attacks were carried out by pitchfork wielding neighbors, rival tribes, arrogant colony seeking countries, or major military battles. Why the US, with its long standing behavior (which I really think is one of those less pleasant attitudes passed down from the Brits) of assuming it knew best for other countries and governments, thought it was exempt is beyond me.
But now, we are twenty years on. I had friends among those who died at the Pentagon. Others that I know lost family and friends when the Twin Towers were attacked. And a planeload of passengers chose to sacrifice their lives in a Pennsylvania field rather than allow the plane they were on to be used as the fourth bomb. And this doesn’t count the tally of those who risked and lost their lives in NYC to save others; nor does it include all of those living with the aftermath of stress and disease as a result of exposures on that day.
And where are we as a country? Why are we surprised when there is a definite portion of the US (and that portion traditionally contributes significantly in terms of military service, police, and fire fighters) who don’t trust the US government or its leaders. Who want a simple answer. And are absolutely tired of doing anything that even remotely could be considered a sacrifice for the benefit of others.
Many of these individuals feel that they have been at war for 20 years, that (in their religious mind set) that the current pandemic might just be a punishment sent by their deity, and that they are losing their last vestiges of freedom and choice.
I don’t agree. I find the arguments completely spurious. Twenty years on, I want to remember those who died by making sure that there is a world to pass down to the next generation. That those who sacrificed are remembered daily, and that I am willing to make those sacrifices needed to keep others safe. My personal choices affect others. It is the small things. Traffic lights, seat belts, masks, immunizations, standing in a queue. Those small considerations for others that may just mean that there will be forty years on. And not a failure of democracy in the US, a country where it has become too easy for people to put their own desires ahead of the welfare of all of us.
And, just in case – go watch Exhibit 13