I had not planned to blog about the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Mostly because I had managed to avoid thinking about the previous anniversaries too much, and you’ve got to think about something in order to write about it.
Okay, I take some of that back. The first 9/11 anniversary was very momentus for me as it occurred less than three months after I relocated to Sweden. In a very real sense, it was the events of that September day the year before that galvanized me to take the steps necessary to make the move. Dr. Darling was the first person I spoke to after watching the second plane strike the South World Trade Center Tower on live television, and I will never forget the sound of her voice that morning, nor the certainty I felt in that moment that I needed to be where-ever she was for the rest of my life, however long that would turn out to be.
We didn’t talk long because the phones in my office starting ringing within minutes of the second plane crash. I was working as a media relations officer for a large university with both a school of aviation and a school of engineering. I spent the rest of that very long day (and a good chunk of the evening, too) scrambling to connect reporters with experts on aviation safety and materials and construction engineering while the university was placed on security alert because our nuclear engineering lab housed a small reactor, putting us fairly high on the federal government’s list of potential terrorist targets.
I didn’t really have time to digest or reflect on what had happened until several days later, and like many Americans, I was stunned to learn that the hatred toward my country was so strong as to manifest itself in a suicide mission that destroyed so many other lives. But all I can think about today is how five years on, the U.S. is no safer from terrorism than it was then, and the conditions that created that hatred have only gotten better for inspiring extemists thanks largely to the policies of the current presidential administration.
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann summed up my feelings better than I ever could with his recent 9/11 anniversary commentary.
And because I find pain is always best eased with humour, here’s a related article from The Onion.