On Sept. 11, 2001 a series of brutal terrorist actions, acts of war really, were perpetrated against the United States and its citizens by a faction of radicals hellbent on demonstrating their power and aegis over not only the United States, but the global political order as well.
It began as a normal day in late summer across America and in Burque. We still had the internet back then, but it looked and responded way differently than it does today.
Anyway, after checking the news at the main portal, I noted a plane had reportedly crashed into a building in New York. Though such news was concerning, it didn’t seem like an emergency. Just that past week, a despondent student in Florida had flown a small plane into a building, after all.
I rode one of my skateboards—a Sector 9 longboard—that’s how long ago this was in real time—to work at Weekly Alibi, where I was greeted by the editor, Michael Henningsen. He was standing at the door to one of the newspaper’s offices on Wellesley SE. He motioned toward me with his finger and said, “Come, here.” His tone was sinister and a chill immediately ran down my spine. The entire crew was gathered around the large teevee monitor in the production office.
The nightmare proceeded to unfold over the next day. One plane then another. A third in Washington. The bloody failure of the fourth flight. Osama bin Laden’s soldiers carried out a vicious attack on unsuspecting civilians. His minions killed more than 3000 citizens that morning in New York City, Washington, D.C. and the fields of Pennsylvania where a plane—filled with resistant, heroic and doomed Americans—went down, finally ending the attack on our homeland.
The nightmare nearly ruined America; the rending of lives, the flight of souls on that day was unprecedented for my generation and undreamt of by those who came after. But those those who did come after the event formed their reality from the ashes. We mostly survived, but nearly twenty years later our planet still struggles with war and violence against civilians.
And what happened to us on 9/11/2001 is happening right now in Syria, in conflicts in the Ukraine and Myanmar and the middle East. If like me, you can remember what that day was like, if you have a deep sadness for the victims of that maelstrom of metal and madness, you might be able to speculate what every day in Damascus or Southern Sudan is like.
If that sounds mythical or idealistic in tone and hyperbolic in expression then hear this: the humans of 9/11 died by violence, through war. Given that any one of us is merely a watery, fatty biomechanism, the word made flesh as it were, it makes sense that on this day of remembrance we remember all the victims of war whose lives were taken to express something much less valuable than the peace, love and sense of community all humans should enjoy while on Earth.
Therefore, we must all work so that all war and the suffering war causes ends. A simple but profound way to start this important work is to volunteer in your community, become part of the political process, make your voice heard and give your skills and experience back to the community.
On this day we remember the horrible war against New York and Washington, the precious lives lost, the end of peace for our generation. And as we remember, we move forward and look forward to and work for the day when violence is not an option in the course of human geo-politics.