America is in a rut. Well, that’s probably not the best choice in diction. America is stuck in the past. Eh, that’s not as eloquent, but it makes more sense. Basically, the point of this post is to look at how America has dealt with the calamity that was September 11, 2001.
From a personal standpoint, September 11th is just another day to me now. Honestly, when I woke up this morning, I didn’t even realize it was September 11th. It took me a good half-hour to catch on to it and required me to look at my phone to see what had been going on in Springfield while I slept. Upon my realization, I didn’t feel a heaviness or sadness. I just shrugged and decided to log onto my Facebook and see what people have been posting. Basically, they’ve been posting the same shit they post every year:
The images — and many, many others — have been making their way through social media today. I have seen all of them, and others, through Facebook updates. On top of this, there is a plethora of news and current events devoted to not only the attacks, but the aftermath and long-term public consciousness of the event. Some examples:
Also, while going through Facebook, I’ve seen how people react when September 11th rolls around. These are actual statuses and updates. The names have been changed to maintain anonymity and the diction from the posts has not been altered grammatically or otherwise.
“Always remember..never forget
I will never forget this day. I remember where i was..who was around me…and the panic that was going on. The reality did not hit right away. The picture looked like it was from a movie.
Always remember the innocent lives lost in a matter of minutes. Remember our soldiers that have been lost in Afghanistan to defend our freedom.
Today as I remember and reflect, I will be praying for all families that have painful memories of this day, this war, and those that are still fighting there.”
— Janet Murphy
“I remember this day ver vividly. I was going to school in 8th grade with Mom and we were sitting in the car listening to KSCS when they broke the news. We went inside and ons of the teachers was watching it. #NeverForget”
— Amber Williams
Yep, there is a hashtag for it.
This is the way things have been every year since 9/11. The entire world stops so we can fall back into ourselves and continue our annual mourning and vigils for the losses America sustained on that day. No matter what’s going on in the U.S. or in the world at this time, the remembrance of 9/11 takes precedence. In my opinion, this shows our weakness as a nation. This shows that we cannot get over the past and continually use the past to influence our futures, and while this may not necessarily be a bad thing in most situations, when it comes to what we’re unable to close and how it’s affecting the well-being of this nation, it is cause for concern. It’s like the country is exhibiting signs of a major depressive disorder.
Think back to when you were a kid. Do you remember a time when you had an accident and got really banged up because of it? Do you remember afterward, when you had to tell everybody what happened and show them the wound/cast you obtained because of it? While some of us showed everyone our injury to incite a sympathetic response, there are many of us who showcased our wounds because we were traumatized and not in a place where we could come to terms with what happened and the consequences to follow.
That may be a loose allegory, but I think it gets the point across.
The last twelve years of American history has been defined by a chaotic response to an act of mass murder. While we, as a collective people, have decided to remember what happened on that particular Tuesday afternoon, we fail to remember the mistakes that have been made in response to it. Because of how the act of terrorism affected us and those who govern us, the last twelve years has been marred by illegal wars, dissolving relationships with European allies, a massive national debt (thanks, in part, to the dramatic increase in the military budget), a somewhat modern segregation within our government (hostility from the GOP and the Democrats toward each other, along with their internal conflicts), a disgruntled and misinformed populous, the rise of radicalism in the American people and their government, and the fact that, for the first time in American history, Americans are paranoid to the point of lunacy.
Listen, I’m not here saying that we need to forget. As George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This is especially true if you lost someone in the attacks. However, the manner in which we’ve been clutching to the memories has only kept the wound open and fresh. This mind-frame Americans have been exhibiting when it comes to 9/11 is nothing but counter-productive to the ability for the American people to accept the tragedy and move on. Instead of letting it consume us to the point where the entire country gets depressed and nostalgic, what we should have done is accepted the tragedy and moved on from it. As bad as this may sound, only 2,996 lives ended during the September 11th attacks. That means that everyone else went to bed and woke up the next day. We have the ability to live and move on, instead of doing those 2,996 people a disservice and choosing to mourn their deaths in lieu of celebrating life.
Life has gone on since 9/11. 4,383 days have happened since then.