Twelve Years Later


A dozen years after 9/11 and it is still weird seeing that date on the calendar.  There is a smaller psychic wobble now as we’ve moved on from 2001, not really healed, but at least being able to cope with how we feel about things.

Like most, we remember where we were when it happened, in our case on a flight to San Francisco from Ottawa, to start building out some Hands-On Labs for that little company called Microsoft.  The flight got as far as Lake Ontario, when it was told to turn around, go back to YOW, land, get the pax off and shut it down to await further instructions.  That’s all the flight crew knew.  I called home to a tearful spouse who told me the rest of the story:  A plane had crashed into the WTC in New York.  I passed that data to the other passengers and the flight attendant nearby, who passed it on to the crew.

Landing and disembarking, we were confronted with 3,000 deadly quiet others in the Ottawa Airport, staring open-mouthed at the TV screens, not making a sound, not comprehending what they were seeing as the second plane had just punched a hole in our collective innocence.  I got the bags and met Marylou at the curb.  We hustled home and parked on the sofa for the next two days, unbelieving, uncomprehending and confused.

To this day those scenes are burned into our minds as they should be.  They caused a ripple of hurt, anger and confusion as there was no valid reason for this to happen to us.  Or so we thought. 

We haven’t fixed any of it.  Some would say that the military-industrial-security complex that suddenly popped up made sure we would never feel safe again.  A fearful populace is a compliant populace who will pay for and demand every possible protection and agree to every possible intrusion on our privacy as long as the government promises to never let that happen again.  As long as we didn’t have to see a tower turn into powder and fall to the ground, we bent over.

A dozen years on now, we should revisit how we reacted and what has been done in our name to ‘protect’ us from that hurt. I’m not saying it was all good, nor all bad:  Like all humans making decisions on the fly we may have made mistakes that we should go back and look at again.

And at the same time, remember those who lost so much on September 11, 2001.

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2 responses to “Twelve Years Later

  1. The part you forgot to mention is that until 24 hours earlier, you were booked on that flight out of Newark to SF. I think knowing how close we came to that disaster drove it home even more.

  2. One pilot who crisscrosses the country and flies internationally told CNN he hasn’t seen an air marshal on board one of his flights in six months. A federal law enforcement officer, who is not affiliated with the air marshal service and who travels in and out of Washington every week, said he has gone for months without seeing a marshal on board.

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