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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Reflections on 9/11

Tomorrow marks the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon.  The events on that day are ones that will never be forgotten and represent the start of many changes to our country.  Before 9/11 who would ever imagine airplanes being used they were for such destructive purposes?   Before 9/11, how many of us had ever heard of the Taliban or could find Afghanistan on a map?

On 9/11, I was working at a hospital where I managed a cafe and small gift shop.  At that point, I had been doing this job for about a year and a half.  However, I had been working since 1996 in that hospital in its main kitchen.  That morning one of my employees, came in for her shift and commented that a plane had crashed into one of the trade center buildings.  My mind imagined a small Cessna plane crashing into the buildings and never once imagined it could be a terrorist attack like the one that occured in 1993.  I recall going into the main kitchen later in the morning and hearing that another plane crashed into the other tower at the WTC and at the Pentagon.  Over in the Doctor's Lounge, it was standing room only as news reports displayed the terrible footage of the towers falling.  For the remainder of the day, people walked around in shock, I had a teenage staff work for the shop in the afternoon and they were quite shocked too.  Incidentally, I don't think we had a customer walk in from 4:00pm thru our close at 8:00pm.

I was fortunate that my immediate family and loved ones were safe on that day.  But from that point as noted in my first paragraph, changes would occur in our country.  We conducted a war and routed the Taliban out of power in Afghanistan and this was done rather quick and cheaply with minimal loss of life.  A year and half later, we entered into a war against Sadam Hussein's regime in Iraq, presumably over Iraq's possession of WMDs, weapons of mass destruction.  He was ousted and only now in 2011 are we reducing our troop presence their.  Both Afgahnistan and Iraq border Iran, which I believe has a terrible and opressive government.  They have made no secret of their desire to possess WMDs.  They also have made many statements against Israel with a desire to see Israel eradicated off the map.  This agressive talk is one of many reasons why I feel the US will always have some presence in the Middle East.  Another reason is our addiction to cheap oil.  Oil is the life blood of our economy and until our country is committed to a future using alternative sources of energy, we are going to be reliant on obtaining oil from less than secure countries such as the ones found in the Middle East.

Thomas L. Friedman, writing in the New York Times on September 6, 2011 commented that our response to 9/11 was flawed and "one of the greatest lost opportunities of any presidency- ever." He believes President Bush failed to rally our country to make the necessary sacrafices, similar to other previous Presidents made during the Cold War to fight this new war.  Bush passed a large tax cut early in his presidency and then proceeded to launch two wars.  It's hard to finance a war without having any money in the coffers. 

Friedman makes some other points regarding the recent changes in the Middle East and the problems facing the Euro democracies and I recommed this column to provoke some thoughts while reflecting on 9/11.

Thomas Friedman Opinion: The Whole Truth and Nothing But,

The events of 9/11 and its aftermath slowly crystallized my thinking towards pursuing work which was more self-fulfilling than what I was doing on that day.  I knew I wanted work which contributed positively, however large or small, back to our community.  I am pleased that this has happened and I am much more satisfied and personally enriched than before.  I am also now a father of three and while they are a little young to comprehend what happened on 9/11, I am sure as they get older I will teach them about that day.

This weekend say a prayer for the victims and brave first reponders of 9/11 who made the ultimate sacrafice on that day.  Say a prayer for our country and our leaders that their wisdom will help them make the correct decisions for our nation.  Most importantly, say a prayer for and wage peace and forgiveness towards others.  The change from within could change the world.

God Bless America.