I know there are lots of sites doing lots of things here in the US to remember 9-11-2001. I totally respect people wanting to remember the people that were lost, give respect to those who fought to save others, and remember what it was like on that crappy day. I share their respect and grief, especially when directed at innocent victims and their families.
However, there is no reason that I should try and slather up this post with lots of pro-American this and anti-terrorism that. You guys all know how each of you feels about any particular issue, and it’s not my job to dictate how you should feel on a date like today.
But I would like to tell you a little about how things went down for me. That morning, I woke up to my TV alarm, which happened to tuned to the Today Show on NBC, as I lay there, I hear them cut out of the pre-recorded stuff and go live about something to do with planes, buildings and other such strangeness. Well, I don’t have to detail how the day played out, but what I will tell you about is what it did to me. All through my teens, 20’s and my 30th year I possessed a certain sort of super human optimism about life. I had young children, an awesome wife, my artwork, college, a good job, and lots of friends.
I saw life as this great big opportunity where you could accomplish anything you wanted, where you could always see the sunny side of everything. Pretty much nothing got me down. But that day did it. It was a defining moment for me, and not for some big nationalistic reason, or some greater meaning or anything…it is just simply the day where I saw life differently. Instead of paying attention to all the great things in life, I immediately started thinking about how cruddy it could be. I now lived in a place where extremists could fly their politics right into the sides of buildings and kill thousands in the process. I now lived in a place where the world’s greatest superpower was going to retaliate, and in so doing, kill thousands of innocents by simple proximity. I now lived in a place where nobody trusts anyone, and your best friend could become your worst enemy in one conversation.
I now lived in a place where I was not feeling so sunny anymore. That sensation has since ebbed some, thankfully. Took about a year or so for that to loosen its grip on me. And while it has never left me entirely, I have found a way for me to deal with it on my own personal grounds.
Anyway, thought I would share that with you. I know there are bunches of you in all parts of the world. I know that there are people who love Americans, and people who hate us. I know that we have soldiers all over the place trying to do what they feel is right and just in their hearts. And I know there are those who hate those guys too. Which is a shame. I think so highly of our military and their families. They have chosen a job I am quite sure I would never be able to handle. This risk life and limb daily, regardless of the machines driving whatever conflict they are in, and I am compelled to respect them.
It is a complicated world we live in. Up till that morning in 2001, I was sure I had it all pretty much figured out. It had a real impact on me, and my goal now is not to try and figure the world out anymore, but to do the best with what I have influence over. Seems like that might be the best any of us can muster. I figure if enough of us are up to good things, somehow that will help the overall picture.
I hope today people can focus on people and individuals and let the politics and mud slinging rest, if only for today.
PS Did a comic that day way back then when EL was in its first few months of existence. Seemed like the right thing at the time. You can feel the child like innocence being stripped from me like a bloody scab. I have since removed it. I don’t like it.