Tag Archives: September 11th

Remembering September 11, 2001

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Today is a solemn, bittersweet day for America. On this day 18 years ago, the September 11th terror attacks shook our world and our spirits. I’m not going to dig into the politics surrounding that day, nor will I entertain the many absurd conspiracy theories that have emerged in wake of it. That wouldn’t be fair to the victims of the attacks and the importance of this day in the collective consciousness off all Americans.

Like so many other major events, everyone remembers where they were on September 11th, 2001. I was in school that day. I was on my way to my algebra class when I heard a couple of teachers talking about a terror attack on New York. At the time, I didn’t know what to make of it. I didn’t even know if it were serious.

I was just a kid. Terror attacks weren’t something that happened in real life. They only happened in movies. Even when they did occur, they were never the kind that demolished major landmarks. That all changed when I saw watched it all unfold on TV. To say it left me shaken would be the understatement of understatements.

There aren’t many days in history that most people can say without question that everything changed that day. September 11, 2001 is definitely one of those days. It marked the end of one era and the start of another. It defined the generations that came before and after it. There are kids alive today who have only ever lived in a post-9/11 world. Whether they know it or not, that fateful day will affect them.

The changes we’ve experienced since that day go beyond terrorism, politics, and war. It’s not unreasonable to say that this fateful day changed the course of history. How we see the world and how we go about surviving it changed a great deal. We’re still feeling the effects of that change today, but on a day like this, it’s also worth remembering how far we’ve come.

As devastating as the September 11th, 2001 attacks were, they brought out the best in a lot of people. You don’t have to look far to find stories of real, unfettered heroism that occurred on that day. Traumatic events have a way of bringing out the worst in some people, but in my experience, the better angels of our nature tend to shine brighter on those moments.

Whether you were alive on that day or not, I encourage you to take a moment to remember the events of September 11th, 2001 and honor those who died. If you can, please consider donating to charities for the victims. There are many harsh lessons we can learn from such a terrible event, but the biggest lesson of all is this.

We survived.

We endured.

We can and will grow stronger in the face of tragedy.

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Never Forget: A Tribute To The Victims Of 9/11 (And The Heroes It Inspired)

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Today is a solemn day, but one we should never forget. I don’t think I need to tell anyone over the age of 25 why September 11th, 2001 is a day we’ll never forget. Even for those born after, it affects them. Nearly two decades later, it continues to affect us all. That’s why we shouldn’t forget. We need to remember because we need to learn from it.

There’s a lot I can say about the issues surrounding September 11th, 2001. I could spend the next year, writing an article every day about the lives lost and the families shattered by that terrible incident. It still wouldn’t be enough. It still wouldn’t heal the scars.

With that in mind, I won’t lament over what and who we lost on that day. Instead, I’ll take the advice of the late Fred Rogers, a man whose capacity for love and compassion is legendary.

In the spirit of those wise, caring words, I think the best thing we can do to honor the victims and learn from the trauma we all experienced that fateful day is to acknowledge the heroes. You don’t have to look far to find stories of heroism on day like September 11th. On a day like this, though, those stories should carry even greater weight.

In the end, the losses are always going to hurt. However, it’s important to remember that even in the face of atrocity, good people find a way to be good. Amazing people find a way to be heroes. That, more than anything, is worth remembering.

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On Football and 9/11

Today is an exciting, but solemn day. It’s inescapable. We all remember where we were 15 years ago during the September 11th attacks on Washington DC and New York. I live near Washington DC. The idea that there was a terrorist attack so close to home hit me pretty hard. I like to think people in my area have gotten used to the heightened awareness of terrorism, but there are just some things you can’t and shouldn’t get used to.

I certainly remember where I was on that day. I was still in school at the time. It wasn’t exactly announced at first because nobody knew what was going on. I only found out when I heard one of my teachers talking about it with another. This was also at a time before cell phones became really common so a lot of people were freaking out. Some kids had family who worked in the Pentagon. I really can’t imagine the kind of dread they must have felt at the time.

For me, personally, I wasn’t sure how to feel about it. Maybe I still don’t on some levels. Back then, I was kind of a cynical little shit. I didn’t enjoy myself at school and I often looked for the worst in everything, be it global news or algebra exams. So in many respects, I think I was kind of numb to the initial impact. As time went on, though, it the 9/11 attacks taught me some valuable lessons.

First and foremost, there is a lot of hate in this world. Human beings are capable of some pretty sadistic shit and not just to those around them. There are people who cannot or will not let go of this hate. They’ll look for any excuse to justify it.

Some use politics from several decades ago as an excuse. Some even use politics from several centuries ago. Some will use their religion, their ethnicity, or their race. At the end of the day though, all those excuses are empty and shallow. That doesn’t matter though. When people feel hate this strong, they don’t just search for reasons to justify it. They search for reasons to cling to it.

As I’ve said before on this blog, the human brain isn’t wired to be rational. It’s wired for survival. Hatred may have some survival value. It really helps to hate that hungry bear that’s attacking your friends and family when you go after it. It’s not so helpful in an era where we have to worry about nuclear weapons more than bear attacks.

It’s a tragic byproduct of our human nature. We cling to hate and seek an outlet. There are many ways to confront it. I’ve even explored a few on this blog and in my books. This is what leads me to football.

Confused? Well bear with me. I promise this isn’t a non-sequiter. Like many Americans, I love football. I’m a huge NFL fan. I build my entire Sundays around watching football. Today is no different, but since today also happens to be the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I think it provides a unique opportunity.

Football is a violent contact sport. It channels some of our most basic emotions in a way that requires the utmost skill and dedication. Emotions like hate, love, passion, excitement, dedication, drive, sorrow all come into play. Both teams have to hate each other on some levels to want to hit each other. They also have to love their teammates on some level to work with them and trust them. It’s a chaotic, but potent combination of emotions that all manifest in the form of a game.

In some respects, it’s a good metaphor for how we manage these emotions that drive us. Men who hate so much that they’re willing to kill innocent people by the thousands do a piss poor job of managing those emotions. Football players are far more skilled in that respect. With those skills, they channel the emotions of millions of fans like me into something positive. It’s an a testament to the breadth of human experiences and one we should all celebrate/commemorate on a day such as this.

So are you ready for some football? After seven long months, I sure as hell am!

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