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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 76 - 9/8/2002
America 911: One Year Later. What's Changed? Are we Safer?
September 11th, 2001 set in motion various changes in the way that people view the world. From personal tragedies to governmental policies to global military actions, many stories have emerged from that one fateful day. Has YOUR life changed since 9/11/01? How has the world changed? Are you feeling more or less secure these days? Do you think that 9/11 is too much the focus for current events/ policies or are we really living in a different world today? Will the 'war on terror' ever be over? Will you do something to commemorate this day or do you just wish that all of the hype would go away?
You can review the original posts from last year's 9/11 Perspectives at: Responses to 9/11
| Reponses: There are 103 responses posted to this question.
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| Our Grief Is Not A Cry For War ||Sep 8th. at 9:20:44 pm EDT|
|Ellen Evert Hopman (Amherst, Mass USA) ||Age: 1 - Email - Web|
Most religions agree on one basic principle; that creation comes from one eternal SOURCE. Some call it Goddess, some call it God and some call it The Mother of Ten Thousand Things. Whatever its ultimate nature, we are all a part of it.
When faced with a tragedy like September 11 we are faced with an aspect of ourselves that we may have a hard time looking upon and living with. Yet it, too, is a part of sacred creation.
Over the next week the media and the government will be doing their utmost to revive the feelings of shock and despair that we first experienced a year ago. Whether it is being done to increase ratings, to sell papers, or to build the propaganda effort for a war against Iraq, we will find ourselves awash in sentiments that were first born on that terrible day a year ago.
As human beings we have a choice in how we handle the emotions that will arise in us and in our fellows. In the words of Gregg Braden (author of Walking Between the Worlds);
"What if one person chooses to see beyond hate for those who oppress, while still living among those who oppress? This does not mean that they condone, agree with, or would ever choose to have oppression in their lives. It simply means that one person has chosen to become more than the circumstances they find themselves immersed within, breaking the cycle of response that has been, becoming the higher choice".
As we experience the renewed drum beats for war and remembrance, we would do well to remember that every actor in the drama; perpetrator, victim, and witness, is an aspect of the sacred, a part of the divine whole. As Gregg has described in his book, we should use this anniverary of grief to witness our own responses and as a tool for growth.
The most primitive response to the memory of 9/11 is to react with rage, demanding vengeance. For many this will be the most immediate and lasting response.
Another understandable, but no less primitive, response will be denial. There are those who refuse to watch television, or read newspapers, or listen to the news, preferring to "stay happy" and focus "only on the positive", in a kind of New Age never never land. Growth cannot occur in this walled off state, nor will this numbness spurr us to take the necessary compassionate action.
Pain and suffering are evident all around us, as they have been continually in the last year. The bombing of civilians in Afghanistan, the deaths of children in Iraq, brought on by sanction driven deprivation, the tit for tat violence in Palestine and Israel, are all aspects of our common crisis.
It is only by facing these events directly, and by allowing the full horror to penetrate, that we can finally respond with compassion and begin the steps to change our present circumstances.
"I am in all beings.
All beings are in me.
This is the whole truth."
-Ashtavakra Gita 6:3-4
All beings are aspects of one creative SOURCE, constantly evolving and seeking to know itself.
As we gaze, clear eyed, at the suffering around us, let us bless the actions of those who have taken life, for seeking to know themselves in the taking of life.
Let us bless the victims who have given their lives, for seeking to know themselves in the giving of life.
And let us bless the witnesses who seek to know themselves in the witnessing.
In the words of the Midewewin (open heart)teachings of the (Native American) Anishnabe;
"All life is sacred and every act is a ritual"
Let us conduct ourselves well this week of the anniversary of 9/11 by wishing health and happiness on all beings, of every race, religion and color, in every corner of our small planet. And let us gaze upon sorrow with compassion and without a futhering of violence.
Ellen Evert Hopman,
author, herbalist, Druid Priestess
| My Cynical Side Wins Out Over Idealism On This One... ||Sep 8th. at 9:21:27 pm EDT|
|Jennifer (CA, USA) ||Age: 30 - Email |
In watching the media the last few weeks exploit the upcoming anniversary of September 11, I can't help but marvel that nothing at all has changed. Bill Maher (before the untimely cancellation of his show) remarked a few months ago that nothing at all had changed because the top stories in the news that week were Gary Condit/Shaundra Levy and shark attacks. The stories right before 9/11 were all about Condit/Levy and sharks. Our penchant for the dramatic and ridiculous hasn't changed. Witness "American Idol." I don't mean to belittle anyone's loss (in the Levy family's case) but to be honest, that story was only covered because a Congressman was involved.
After the instances of people reaching out to help each other that we heard of in the days following the attacks, no one has really made any severe lifestyle changes. One of the best things we could do to help our fellow humans would be to stop the selfish pollution of our atmosphere. I still see as many if not more SUVs on the road. That hasn't changed.
The media is still exploiting personal tragedy for sales and ratings. That hasn't changed. I think my own personal tribute to those lost on that day and their families will be not to watch the exploitation of their tragedy on the anniversary.
One thing that has changed is the actions of these terrorists have given the Christian right new people to focus their hatred on, and backed up their own personal beliefs that Christianity is righteous and the ONLY way. That saddens me as much as the loss of innocent lives on 9/11.
I'm not convinced anyone has learned anything.
| I Saw It All And I'll Always Be Sad ||Sep 8th. at 11:50:17 pm EDT|
|jamiek (clifton ,NJ) ||Age: 42 - Email |
Most of you have only seen video and photos from 9/11. The scope and size of the destruction cannot be fully comprehended in that medium. It's one of those things that you have to see in person to really understand.
Unfortunately for me I live only about 10 miles west of NYC and have an unobstructed view of Manhattan Island and the sky line from Garret Mt., a 5 minute walk from my house. From there I can see from the George Washington Bridge in the North all the way down past the Southern tip of NYC. On that day from that spot a few friends and myself witnessed the crimes first hand.
The day started off quite normal. It was a beautiful late summer morning. Sunny and 80 degrees F. My two girls were just beginning the new school year. I dropped my eldest daughter off at school at 7:45 , returned home so my wife could then take my youngest girl to school at 8:30 and head off to work.
My wife Lauren had a news station on the car radio when they reported that a plane had just hit one of the Twin Towers in lower Manhattan. She thought this so news worthy that instead of heading straight to work she stopped by our home just long enough to tell me and left for work.
I turned on the TV and saw images of the South Tower engulfed in smoke and flames. I went outside and met up with a few of my friends, we basically sprinted up the road to the top of the mountain. We got there just in time to see the second plane hit. We watched the towers burn and fall. When the first tower fell the plume of smoke that rose up looked like someone had set off a small nuclear bomb. Then as we all know the second tower fell as well as the 47 story building #7. The next thing I remember were the F-15's and 16's flying all over the place.
To see what looked like the entire southern tip of Manhattan covered in smoke and fire was a sickening site. It looked like a scene from a Science Fiction Movie yet it was happening. The smoke, the flames the reality of it all was unreal, yet we all knew it was real.
The fires burned for weeks. The fires left a grey smudged streak in the sky ,even on the clearest days . We all knew after a while the smoke wasn't only from the fallen buildings burning ,it was also from the bodies trapped beneath the rubble as well.
Ask your grandparents about Stalingrad or Leningrad if you live near those cities. Listen to their stories about the carnage. Those events were far worse than 9/11 but it's all I can come up with as a comparison.
The nearly 3000 people who perished on that day came from all walks of life from almost every corner of the world and from many different faiths. They were all mostly civilians. They were at the WTC because most of them worked there. They committed no crime or had an agenda against the racist fanatics who murdered them. Bottom line is they just wanted to make a buck to support themselves and their families.
Am I mad, do I want retribution? The answer is yes. It must be clear and justified but I want anyone responsible or connected to pay. Whether it be Bin Laden, Saddam or Joe Smith . To target civilians is just plain immoral. To support such actions conveys a sick and twisted mind and an evil soul. These actions are not what Islam is about nor does it represent the 5 pillars of Islam.
It's really up to you to weed the truth from the lies and make your decision based on how you perceive the truth and your own morality.
I'm not a judge nor jury ,only a witness.
| The World Is As It Ever Was ||Sep 9th. at 1:23:07 am EDT|
|Richard (Washington State) ||Age: 34 - Email |
I have never felt more overexposed to the banality of politicians and mainstream America than now--that is how my world has changed. I can hardly stomach the wretched excess. What happened on Sept. 11th was cruel to its victims and their families and all first-hand witnesses, as all atrocities against humanity are. However, it is far from the worst thing I have heard of in this world. Rwanda: hundreds of thousands, systematically hacked to death. 800,000? Dresden, Nanking, Hiroshima, Stalin's gulags, Nazi death camps, Cambodian purges. Over 90% of WWII dead were noncombatants. Innocent people are killed on a regular basis. The world is ocasionally sick and cruel beyond belief, and in record numbers--that this is shocking and something new to millions of Americans simply boggles my mind. And now, our current administration is fixing to spill massive buckets of blood in Iraq. The chance of becoming a victim of terrorism is greater abroad, but practically nonexistent domestically. As always, I'm more concerned about the ethics of my neighbors and the criminal proclivities of my fellow Americans. Road ragers, meth heads, paroled felons. The war on terrorism will most likely end when a largish asteroid finally destroys the planet (any given moment), or when the earth is consumed by the sun, expanding in its death throes (6 billion years). I will watch the evening news on Sept. 11th, only because there is a reasonable chance that another attack will occur somewhere around the world. I think the more fuss we make over 9/11, the greater chance that terrorists will go out of their way to commemorate the occasion. I wish the hype would just go away.
| I Wish We Would Make Some Effort To Move On ||Sep 9th. at 1:48:55 am EDT|
|janet (washington) ||Age: 54 - Email |
I understand grief, I've been there but this public mourning seems counte productive to all that we hold dear. Privacy is lost, freedoms are curtailed, people are marked as unamerican all in the name of safety. Yet everything we have in life says nothing is totally safe, we adore risktakers and glorify violent sport and risky hobbies, yet everyone including our soldiers should be immune to risk on any other front. I believe we should take all the lovely stories of americans helping each other in times of need and how many survived did so through their own courage and how the ones who didn't , namely the firefighters and policemen, were not murdered but sacrificed their lives in the name of rescuing their fellow man. We should hold up our heads and look the world in the eye and say "we are survivors, you cannot kill a democracy" . Then we should tell everyone that we will rebuild buildings on the site, bigger , better, more beautiful and more american. Lets stop wallowing in our grief. I know how hard it is for those involved but it wont be better if we keep telling people to be afraid, be very afraid.
| Why All The Suprise? ||Sep 9th. at 2:31:41 am EDT|
|Pennance~Vendeatta~Sharde Dracul (San Mateo, California) ||Age: 22 - Email |
I know that this may seem cynical, and even a little harsh; but there is nothing that happened on September 11th that isn't happening all over the world. It, unfortunately, is something that is fairly commonplace in our world today. We don't recognize each act of global terrorism on this scale, simply because it didn't happen to us and now that it has, all of a sudden everone thinks that "it's gone too far." when really, it's gone way too far for way too long.
September 11th did change my perspective on life; not mine, but the lives of others. Where before I may have ignored someone who's homeless, now I give them a hello or a smile. Where before I would have been ready to fight at the drop of a hat, I now find myself trying to spread peace and tolerance everywhere I can. I now know that yes we have to stand up for ourselves, and fight the good fights, but that our quests, our fights and even our victories are hollow and quite frankly they're nothing if it, in any way, infringes on the lives of ANY LIVING BEINGS!
If we wage war on Iraq, then we will be responsible for returning all the terror that we saw on our TV sets almost a year ago to others, and that is about the most unforgivable act I can think of. We will become terrorists, killing innocent men, women, children, elderly, and sick who 1. have nothing to do with our war, 2. can't defend themselves, and most importantly 3. DON'T DESERVE IT.
I have learned from September 11th that intollerance is ignorance and I am smarter than that!
| A Personal War ||Sep 9th. at 3:33:38 am EDT|
|Morgaine Swann (Eastern, KY) ||Age: 41 - Email - Web|
My disillusionment didn't start on 9/11. It started during the 2000 Presidential election, and 9/11 has made it worse. I feel as if the foundations of who we are as a nation are under attack from within and from without. I believe they could have stopped the attacks. I don't believe we are any closer to bringing those truly responsible to justice. And at every turn I feel my basic civil liberties are in danger.
I am disgusted and not a little frightened that the natural wave of Patriotism is being exploited by the radical right.
I am appalled that my government is discouraging dissent and free public discourse.
I am disturbed that every member of congress lacks a basic understanding of the Bill of Rights, as evidenced in their shouting of "under God" in what should be a completely secular Pledge of Allegiance.
I am angered that my President and other members of his cabinet have dared to state that mine is not a "real religion".
I am furious at attempts to turn my government - the most progressive government in the world -into a theocracy.
I am a proud American Witch and nothing and no one is going to change that.
| Look Forward In Hope ||Sep 9th. at 4:23:07 am EDT|
|Annwyn (Christchurch, New Zealand) ||Age: 31 - Email |
Hi from the Other side of the world!
9/11/01 was a day that I was still unemployed, and was up early to scan the employment pages before heading off to a "get a job" training course that the local Work and Income office had insisted I attend. I watched the news reports before being delivered to the door of the building where I was at the course, and I found myself looking skywards at the buildings around it, wondering what it could be like if something similar happened here. I didn't like the idea, and I freely admit I was nervous for what remained of the course (about 10 days). My views were given a shake up then, and have been continually evolving thereafter, with various things closer to home (the death of my younger brother, starting a new job, finding my 'Powers' growing and expanding to name a few) and I find myself looking ahead to what could be/will be if I set myself to it. As experiences happen, I'm learning from them.
Almost a year on, I still occasionally find myself looking at tall buildings - which is a bit unnerving considering the hospital where I now work has an average of 5 floors - nothing in comparison to the WTC and it's neighbours. As the anniversary draws closer, I find myself thinking that it was a terrible thing to happen, but rather than dwelling on the past, the world needs to look to the future - to see what we have learned - if anything - from that day.
I still see violence being met with violence, people being persecuted for their religious beliefs and others being heroes. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that what happened was right, but I am saying that crimes against humanity have been occuring on the grounds of religion and race for centuries. And still the world fails to learn from the lessons that we are sent time and again.
My heart and thoughts are with those who lost loved ones, those who are still traumatised by the events and everyone that is attempting to come to terms with 9/11 and it's long-reaching ramifications. But we need to look forward in hope, and make sure that those lost were not in vain....
Blessings and Peace to all at this time.
| I Have Come To Realise One Important Thing... ||Sep 9th. at 7:33:39 am EDT|
|Matt Walton (England, United Kingdom) ||Age: 20 - Email |
Since the 11th of September last year I've come to realise that although their actions were dispicable, those responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center, the one on the Pentagon and the attempt which was brought down by the passengers in Pennsylvania actually do have a point. Their countries and cultures are in many ways oppressed and demonised by the Western world. America, a country with a constitution that proclaims freedom for all - of speech, of religion, of expression - goes directly against this by attempting to impose American values on the rest of the world, whether the rest of the world likes it or not. 9/11 was a reaction to what some people outside America perceive as an American threat to their freedom. An overreaction perhaps, and certainly not the right kind of action to take (killing people is, as far as I can see, never good), but they do have a point.
What I don't see is any acknowledgement from any government in the Western world that perhaps they did something to bring this upon themselves.
What I also don't see is any real progress in the War on Terrorism, or any sense in attacking Iraq. Yes, we know the government there isn't very nice to its citizens, especially the Kurds, but how will we help them by barging in with tanks and missiles? And if Iraq does really have chemical, biological and nuclear weaponry, what happens then? By attacking Iraq, we could give what is tantamount to blanket permission for all terrorist groups to start bombing our cities, not necessarily with just conventional explosives.
Tony Blair, the much-disliked Prime Minister of this grey and gloomy country (it's raining as I write this), has stated that he will support America in action against Iraq no matter what anyone else says. The government appears to agree with him, including, unfortunately, the Opposition. He raises in his support the prospect of nuclear attacks on British cities, using Iraqi nuclear weaponry, if something is not done very soon. But if we do attack Iraq, wouldn't that just encourage them?
I don't have the solutions to the world's problems, but I do have the strongest feeling that attacking Iraq is an idea bound to go wrong.
| Changes Good And Bad ||Sep 9th. at 8:44:03 am EDT|
|Ellen Clunie (Indianapolis IN) ||Age: 33 - Email |
As far as I can tell, things have changed both for the better and for the worse.
On the good side, people are more *aware* of our country and our position in the global community. Some of the most open, caring, supportive actions I've seen in my LIFETIME occurred in the weeks immediately following the attacks.
Unfortunately, most of that is overshadowed by other things. The USA-PATRIOT Act threatens everything our country "supposedly" holds dear. Patriotism has changed from a true spirit of unity into a commercial enterprise. Our government is using these attacks as a way to bully our foreign agendas through so Junior can clean up messes that Senior left when he was president.
However, what it has done for me is to cement my own committment to fighting for the true ideals of my country - freedom, and support and help where it is *truly* needed - and asked for.
I will remember those who died because they lived *here*, and were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I will remember those who died because they were convinced that a statement needed to be made about our "civilization". And I remember all of us who had to watch these events unfold - and explain them to our children.
| Has It Been A Year??? ||Sep 9th. at 9:06:18 am EDT|
|Corey (Bangor, PA) ||Age: 20 - Email - Web|
Wow... It doesn't seem like a whole years pasted since 9/11. Those horrific images of the WTO "pancaking" floor by floor are still stuck in my head. That day changed the world. In America we can really see the changes. They are happening so subtly and slowely. But I think over time we will see some major changes in certain activities we participate in. Currently the changes are taking place overseas more than here in the U.S. Governments are being changed by our iron fist, certain leaders are "crapping their pants", and some people are enjoying freedom in which they've never had. Although the outcome of our military plans can be good, we are at a crutial point in our existance. This is a time when nuclear holocost can easily happen if we're not careful. But, so far so good.
| Good And Bad ||Sep 9th. at 10:08:23 am EDT|
|Charl (Yaphank, New York) ||Age: 40 - Email |
It's hard to believe that it was just a year ago when I was watching news coverage about a plane hitting one of the towers, a "helicopter crash" at the Pentagon and getting ready for work. I stopped for a moment to see what was going on and distinctly remember seeing another plane fly past the camera. My immediate thought was "wow, I'm surprised they didn't shut down NY air space". Then, the unthinkable...
As the year goes by, I find that both good and bad have come out of the tragedy. The good -- my friends and family never miss an opportunity to say "I love you" just in case it's the last time. I find myself being much gentler with people -- I still have moments of road rage when someone is doing something to endanger people, but overall, life is too short to spend it upset or angry. I also tend to make eye-contact on the subway -- perhaps it began as the feeling that I want to look at someone because they could be the last person I see, but it's developed into a fuller appreciation of my fellow human beings. I've also become more politically active--I've joined the ACLU to name just one example.
Which brings me to the not-so-good things that have come out of this--we are Americans and our country was based on what we as Americans consider basic freedoms. These apply to all Americans, no matter what race, religion or ethnic background. When those freedoms are curtailed, the terrorists win. Then we no longer become free Americans, we become fearful Americans. Don't get me wrong, the additional security is something that should have been in place a long time ago, but when I hear about people being persecuted because they share a religion or ethnicity with a person who has committed a terrible act, well, it takes away from all of us.
There are so many horrible things to remember about 911 -- the terrible things men do to each other in the name of righeousness, the horrendous pain and fear experienced by the deceased and still being experienced by many survivors, the children who lost parents, the parents who lost children...
I'd personally rather remember the day as a day when we saw the best that humanity has to offer--the sacrifices made by so many people both in the Towers and Pentagon and out. I think that we can best honor those memories by remembering what this country is really all about and by remembering to love each other as much as we can today, because tomorrow just may not happen.
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