13 Years

I cannot believe that it has already been 13 years since the day that changed so much for my country. I remember it like it was yesterday. My mother driving to my apartment- because I did not answer the phone… and telling me “they” were crashing planes into the Pentagon and WTC. I told her that she had a bad dream- and that was a Tom Clancy book. Then, I turned on the news. I was never the same again.

I remember sitting and feeling a desperation for news. Craving an explanation that could help me understand how this could happen. I cried for the loss of life. I cried for my own fear- what if they attack me? I was angry. Mostly- I was scared. The terrorist got what they wanted. Our entire country changed that day. What drives a human being to have such total disregard for life? What defense to you have against someone who is willing to die for their cause? It did not matter how much information I was assaulted with. I did not understand. I still do not understand.

I took a fiction class in college. We read a book called The Go-Between. It was set in 1900. It was supposedly a metaphor for the innocence the world lived in prior to WWI. 9/11 was an event that had global implications to a similar magnitude.

I am not going to join the debate as to whether or not the US should have gone to war- or if we have handled any of this right. I want to talk about the way this has all affected me. It is not that I do not care about the war in Iraq or Afghanistan… I just don’t know enough about it. What I have seen though- is a public justification to alienate people based on our differences. Religion- culture- race… At the risk of sounding like a child- why does all this matter so much? Are we not all people? Where has the desire to relate on a human level gone? Why do people in other countries want to hurt me and my fellow countrymen just because we are American? Why do Americans voice a desire to wipe entire countries off the planet? I do not know a solution to this situation. It is a sociological nightmare to me. How do you cross the river and learn to respect people simply because they are human? How do you put aside wars that have been raging since the dawn of civilization? How do you tell people to stop using those “sacred” texts as rational justification for hate? Have we not evolved enough as a species to apply rational thought to our belief system? How do you change centuries old ideas that are archaic and outdated?

I want a global community. I want to live with the expectation that I will not hurt people- and people will not hurt me. I want the John Lennon song. I want the world to live as one.

13 Years