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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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| "News Came Across The Ocean..." ||Sep 11th. at 12:29:08 pm EDT|
|Wolf's Tear (Finland) ||Age: 15 - Email |
Year ago, I think, I was more immature, and didn't really care about others so much that I do now. Year ago, when I heard the news about the terror, I didn't really realize what had happened at first. I didn't really care. Hours went, watching from TV. I think it finally hit me when the first tower collapsed. I realized, people were dying. Thousands of people. I couldn't just do nothing but cry. And weeks, maybe monts following the 9/11, I was feeling a little empty. I also had some really realistic visions related to what happened at the NYC. They may had been formed because of my vivid imagination, maybe they were not. But it all was something that moved me.
And has my life chanced because of 9/11 yes, it has. I can't talk about traumas or anything, because fact is, something happening far away hardly touches you mostly. But the 9/11 woke me up. I think something positive is happened to my 'mental awarenes' and my empathy after this all happened. It has woke me up to realize many other things, around me at the world outside.
Today, I made another 'shrine-page' to my notebook, the book where I write poems and stories. There's a tombstone drawn at the page, where someone has left flowers. The following words are writed to the stone: "For all those who lost someone near to them at 11.9.2001 in New York or Washington. May the memory of the heroes and all lost ones of that day stay on oyr minds, reminding us about that what hate can do in it's worse form. R.I.P".
May The Lord and the Lady bless you all, and may The True Love heal broken hearts!
| Human Nature ||Sep 11th. at 12:30:27 pm EDT|
|DigitalLux (Virginia) ||Age: 40 - Email |
A year ago today I came to work late, never turning the radio on. Coworkers told me a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I went into the next office where they had a TV on and through the grainy picture watched the second plane hit. The images offered that day seemed like something out of a hollywood movie. As I watched the happenings on TV my emotions went a bit numb. As the days past my emotions returned, sometimes in a flood of tears, other times in anger over the senseless death of so many people. I found myself opposed to a military strike against what had happened. I also realized that it would happen regardless of my feelings. I began to fear for my Arabic friends here in the States.
A year later and the sadness and anger is still there, but greatly tempered with compassion for ALL the people involved in this event. I look for the good that has come from this. Many people do not take "life" for granted as much as they used to. Many people have turned back to their religious path(s) with renewed vigor. Many people are working together to improve their communities, their families, themselves. Yes, these are things that should have happened anyway - but if one does not learn the easy way one will learn the hard way.
Some people have expressed a cynical opinion regarding the events of today. Too commercial, too political, too much hype from the media - the list goes on. Well, of course it is. Look at our country - it is what we have become. As children of Nature it is our duty, our right, to look beyond that and see what is really happening. Our country, a child itself when compared to some of the other countries in the world, got a bit too big for its pants and was hit hard by a "bully". The pain and scars from that will last quite some time. What matters now is how we act, how we feel, how we think. We must rise above it and return hate with Love.
| What I Did This Morning... ||Sep 11th. at 12:51:06 pm EDT|
|Sunfell (Little Rock) ||Age: 41 - Email - Web|
Today was a crystal clear day, just like a year ago. A few more contrails in the air, but lovely nonetheless. I went into work a little early so as to ensure that no one would swipe my parking place, because out on the front steps of my workplace, they were having a memorial gathering.
I skirted around the groups of girl scouts, said hello to the uniforned military and police, grinned at a legislator or three, and detoured around the Governor and his entourage. I didn't stay for the service, because I knew that it was going to be another born-again glurge-fest, and my stomach wasn't up to it. Pious patriotism isn't my choice for breakfast.
I had a better idea for observing the morning- poking around the Sonic Memorial( http://sonicmemorial.org/public/index.html ) and listening to the sounds of a lively pair of buildings and their inhabitants, recorded and archived for posterity online.
So, instead of listening to the pious puffery of the folks outside, I listened to the sounds of one of the WTC towers creaking in the wind, the noises in its lobbies, the interesting sounds of its revolving doors and elevator shafts, and the anecdotal stories of the people who built, maintained, cleaned, and worked there. These are 'ghost' sounds now, carefully preserved memories, but they serve to remind me that life does indeed go on.
And now, as I sit and write this to the tune of heavy equipment digging around outside, and the hum of the dehumidifier and my computer's fans, my own mind records these sounds, to remember them as living things.
Let us not forget to celebrate life in the midst of death. Those who are now on the other side of the veil will appreciate it.
| Coping Fear, Grief, And Anger... ||Sep 11th. at 3:03:14 pm EDT|
|Leigh (Indiana) ||Age: 39 - Email |
I haven't watched any TV today. I did energy work last night, and for the first time in my life, I became very ill afterwards. It was just too overpowering, the feelings of fear and grief and anger floating around out there. And they are justified feelings---feelings that I have experienced in unwanted abundance since 9/11. I would like to say that during the crisis I remained in my highest truth and prayed for peace, but that would be a lie. As I sat that night, looking at my beautiful sleeping children, my warrior Goddess self took up the sword and demanded justice, vengance. Anything to ensure the protection of my babies (OK, so they're 6,9,and 12--but they're my babies, right?). And yet over the last year, I have come to focus on something else, something that I think some people have not been able to see--and that was the message of unconditional love that came to us from the people inside the Towers. When the planes hit, did those trapped and those who where evacuating allow fear, grief, and anger dominate them? The answer is no. As we all watched in horror at the events from outside the Towers, inside there were acts of bravery, spurred on by unconditional love, taking place. No one stopped to inquire your religious beliefs, no one was passed by because of their sex or color of their skin. They, in love and unity, held on to each other in life and in death. Both the survivors and the ones whose passed over went through a spiritual initiation that few of us will ever experience, and in the end, the ONLY thing that really mattered was love. Does this mean I think we can hug it, pray it or cast it all away. Certainly not. We must protect ourselves and those not capable of protecting themselves. It is our responsibilty as a superpower, as a consumer of the vast majority of the world's resources to spread the cloak of protection. Does this mean we should go to war? Give up so many of our rights? I honestly don't know. I could answer you from the ideal world in my mind, but out here in reality...I just don't have an answer. But through this year and on this day, I have reached out and felt the love that guided all those in the Towers during those horrible moments, and it has helped me to cope and to live, again.
In the Love of the Journey,
And with Brightest Blessings,
| A World Of Similarities- A Nation Full Of Differences ||Sep 11th. at 3:14:03 pm EDT|
|AzureMyst (New Jersey) ||Age: 21 - Email |
When I think about this question I am automatically reminded of exactly where I was this day last year. When I heard the news, I was coming out of my 1st period World Civ class. I was on my way to my next class on another campus, and I turned on the radio to my fave NY station. My 1st thought when I heard the president's voice was "Ok, what annoying BS is he talking about now?" Then I realized something bad had happened. I had no idea how bad it was though. I was sitting in my second period World Lit class, and someone came in to talk to my professor. He seemed as unfazed as everyone else who hadn't heard yet. He continued with class until someone else came in to say that classes had be cancelled due to attacks in NYC. I felt weird, scared, and strangely alert. I rushed home, called everyone in my family, as most of them live and/or work in NYC. They were all fine, and I thanked Goddess for that. I then realized the horror of what was going on as I watched it played and replayed on the TV. I was sad, shocked and horrified, but not in the same way many of my friends were. Many were dismayed at the fact that we as Americans were no longer immune to the same things that have been going on around the world for hundreds of years. I never thought that we were immune.
I didn't grieve the same. I grieved for the loss of life, the fear of death under terrifying circumstances, but I didn't feel my freedom was compromised. I didn't think it was an attack on our country as much as an attack on what we stood for. I was depressed for a few days, but I rarely cried, and I still haven't, because I just can't. My tears were for those who passed beyond the veil. My tears are for those who died, heroes, by choice and chance. Those tears are gone, because I still feel, (as horrible as this sounds) that everything is for a reason, and this has its reason too. I can't cry, because crying now would be "poor me," and I personally have nothing to cry about. I am healthy (relatively), I am housed, clothed, and fed. I am happy. The incidents of 9/11/02 depressed me, and I believe that OUR world, as Americans has changed, but THE world, as in planet earth is the same as it ever was. There are just more patriotic Americans on it....
| Struggling To Relate To The Country ||Sep 11th. at 3:58:08 pm EDT|
|Katie (Carmichael, CA) ||Age: 26 - Email |
For the last year, I have struggled with my feelings, as they do not match the level and intensity of the mourning, surprise, fear and often retalitory desires that are expressed to me by the local news and media. I am sad for the people who lost their lives and loved ones (as I always am with a great tragedy), but for me, this has simply focused my views on political action and made it clear whose side I am on.
I am saddened and to some degree disgusted by the immense attention this has recieved in relation to the tragedies of other countries and other people. Because of these people's status as Americans, as business people, they are honored and remembered. Because this happened in OUR country, shattering the illusion of saftey, it is so much more of a tragedy that the hundreds and thousands of deaths that the US media ignores.
Yesterday Nelson Mandela said that the US Government's policies and motivations are a threat to world peace. That is amazing. When I am surrounded by people who are swept up in a unified voice of patriotism, I just can't join them. How can I be PROUD to be an American, when being an american means that my tax dollars go towards so many things I don't believe in? This tragedy has been turned into a motivating force to move the American people behind a president they didn't even vote for and carry him into history as the man who invaded the Middle East (again - just like his Dad).
As a high priestess, my love, energy and magick goes out. I send it to all the people who are truly still mourning the loss of their loved ones. As a woman who has lost a great deal of my family, I understand the struggle that death can bring. I hope for growth, grief and closure for them. I also send my love, energy, and magick to all people who are suffering, struggling to live day to day, to gather food and water, to live the best lives they can with the limited resources they have. I send my hope out to all the citizens of the countries that we oppress and use that they may grow and someday take control of their land and resources. I send my love and magick to all those who are angry and hurt, seeking to hurt others and my hope that they will find peace within and begin to change their actions in the world. But more than anything, I send my magick to awaken the American public, to enlighten them and open their eyes to a true view of the world (myself included) where we can use our immense economic power and influence to truly act as leaders of the world and not conquerors. I have pride in myself and the people I surround myself in. I believe in the spirit of the American people, proud, strong, innovative and motivated. But I am still waiting to be proud of our country, waiting until we start acting like a mature member of the world community and not a muscle bound teen-age bully pushing people around and taking whatever we want.
Thats how I feel today, and sadly, I don't think our country has changed the way I had hoped it would. Instead of apathy, now we have media driven patriotism. I don't know which is worse. I don't see this as a war against terrorism, but a struggle against our myopic view. We can meet this challenge, we can begin to see outside our own borders. I believe we can awaken and grow.
| One Year Ago I Spent The Day In Tears... ||Sep 11th. at 4:39:30 pm EDT|
|Ivy (Sacramento) ||Age: 49 - Email |
I called all my family (we live in different states) just to tell them I loved them. We have always been close, but we are closer still, today. There has been a reawakening of national feeling, that is a good thing, but I fear the direction the deffination of "Patriot" is going....I have been confronted with questions like "Don"t you sing GOD Bless America?". It seems that even as we preach tolerence there is a movement to call the USA a God fearing, Christian country. The separation of Church and State is becoming blurred, and I fear for my daughter in school, because she is Wiccan/pagan. I am afraid for my Moslem friends and my Hindu and Hmong neighbors, because they look and worship differently. I am VERY afraid that the renewed saddness and anger over the events of one year ago will be used to fuel a drive for war against Iraq. (If there is proof of weapons of mass destruction, for Goddess' sake SHOW IT TO US AND THE WORLD,Mr. Bush!) I am NOT more secure today, I am more careful,cynical,and suspicious.
May the Great Goddess and the Horned God protect us from all dangers, foreign and domestic.
| What To Do With 9/11? ||Sep 11th. at 7:27:39 pm EDT|
|Shanan (Phoenix, AZ) ||Age: 29 - Email |
On the radio a few weeks ago the morning DJ's were discussing the anniversary of 9/11. They were talking about the various activities, vigils, etc. planned around Phoenix, and then interjected their view (which I love, and am promoting as much as possible)... take your time to reflect, or offer a moment of silence. But overall, let's not make this a somber, sorrowful day. Yes, it was tragedy. But let's look from a different angle. What happened in the weeks following 9/11? People everywhere... not just in the USA, but all over the world... pulled together as a community (if only for a short time before resuming life "as usual"). They donated time, money and blood. They reached out to friends, family and community and reunited with old friends. People were actually *nice* to each other, if for only a short time.
Let's make that our 9/11 remembrance. Not as the time when we were rocked by tragedy, but as the time when we realized that we are one global community, each able to have an impact in another's life. Let's donate (time, money, blood... whatever you have to give). Let's volunteer. Let's read to children. Let's smile and greet strangers as we would friends. Let's not let sadness infest us... instead, be happy and be alive and reach out to each other.
"Crucify the ego before it's far too late
And leave behind this place so negative and blind and cynical
And you will come to find that we are all one mind
Capable of all that's imagined and all conceivable"
- Maynard James Keenan, Tool
| Tragedy Is Everywhere... ||Sep 11th. at 10:33:19 pm EDT|
|Silverborne (USA) ||Age: 45 - Email |
A year ago I was shocked and dismayed about the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I sat with friends and neighbors, mourning the dead, praying for the living. One neighbor is a grandmother, who was anxiously waiting word about her granddaughter, a Pentagon worker who was there during the attack. I read stories of survivors, and those who did not make it, and those who worked to make a difference. I answered frantic email from friends everywhere around the world who were afraid for me and my family, even though we are hundreds of miles from the attack areas.
To answer the question of focus: I see the events of 9/11 in a world perspective. I have also talked with and prayed with dear friends in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, and the Slovak Republic during the recent floods. I comforted a cherished friend during the recent plane tragedy in the Ukraine where so many lives were lost, and with other friends who've suffered in other countries and on other continents. As Americans our tragedy was very great, but it is not the only tragedy. Even as you and I mourn again our loss on 9/11 of last year, let's remember the suffering and many great losses of other nations too.
That said, I address the other questions: I feel safe in my home and my country, and while I think some security measures are extreme, I believe our government has done everything to try to make the USA and her people secure. Sadly, I don't think the war on terrorism will end. Terrorism is not exclusive to the USA, and in every country of the world there will always be some person or group that believes acts of terror will help their cause. Fighting fanaticism is a hard battle. I have commerated this day already with raising the flag and with silent prayer. The hype doesn't bother me because I know where the "off" button is on the television. Finally, yes, I believe the world has changed because of 9/11. Events like this always change the world. It is up to all of us to make the change a positive one.
| Post 9/11 ||Sep 12th. at 2:21:01 am EDT|
|Jerry Kirkpatrick (Vancouver, WA) ||Age: 52 - Email |
My personal life has not changed very much. I feel a little less safe and being in a big, metropolitan port city that has nuclear power plants and possible leaking arsenals of chemical weponry has contributed to that somewhat. What I think has changed the most and is the most frightening is the eroding away of personal rights and freedoms and paranoia towards "people not like us". The thing most in jepordy is, I believe, an assault on the constitutional rights we should all be privy to. I hear a lot of people say, "I'm willing to give up some freedoms to be safe". I've even been guilty of saying this but the truth is, we are not safe. Safety is an illusion. Freedom should not be. I see things like separation of church and state being ignored, a subtle persecution of non-white, ethnic people and people who may practice something besides judeochristian religions. Lest you think I'm feeling persecuted I am white, and about as non-ethnic as they come. My husband is multiracial and he feels a slightly stepped up animosity toward him. I think the years ahead may require more of us to step forward and just say "no" when we see freedoms dwindling. Part of that us is me. I'm the biggest fence sitter but I can feel myself falling off.
| 4 Blocks North Of The White House ||Sep 12th. at 8:53:35 am EDT|
|Tina Horn (Washington, DC) ||Age: 34 - Email |
Until yesterday, I had stopped flinching at emergency sirens. The flinch is back. Hopefully it will go away again.
The last thing I say to my loved ones before we part ways, even to go to the grocery store, is "I love you." No matter where we go. It's important. It's much more important than it used to be.
I have a lot of thoughts about American foreign policy and our behavior and how we can make the world a better place to be, which is each of our responsibility, but this does not seem to be the appropriate place to address them.
I hope that each of us prays for the others, we can all use it!!
| 'safe' Is The Wrong Question ||Sep 12th. at 12:40:27 pm EDT|
|Lady S. (Maryland) ||Age: 33 - Email |
I live in the DC suburbs, but on Sept. 11 2001 I was on a trip with my partner- first up through NY to pick up a friend, then on to Canada. We drove up as far as NJ in the wee hours of the morning of the 11th, and saw the familiar NY skyline with the WTC before turning in and trying to catch a few hours sleep. Being excited, perhaps about the trip, I was unable to sleep.
About 9, I woke my partner up, and we packed up, getting ready to pick up our friend at the NJ path train station. In the course of getting up and out of the hotel, I turned on CNN.
We spent much of the rest of the morning trying to get a call through to find out if our friend was dead or alive, in the path station under the now collapsed trade center, or somewhere, anywhere else.
Eventually (what seemed like forever) we found out she had missed her train and was alive.
She was in her apartment where debris from the WTC was raining down on her building's roof. There was no getting to her- she was on the opposite side of the city from us, and all routes in and out of the city, and all public transportation were shut down. Everything had turned to rivers of people, walking sometimes miles, as lower Manhattan was evacuated.
As we left our hotel, we saw the plume of debris. We drove over to the Hudson to see for ourselves, because television can't begin to convey the magnitude of what had happened. Even from that distance, we knew we were seeing only a 'snapshot'. There were small knots of people everywhere, gathered around TVs, car stereos, or just staring at the space where the towers had been, only hours before. We listened as fighter jets flew overhead- the only air traffic we saw all day. We drove down highways where only outbound traffic lanes were open, temporary construction signs read 'all routes to Manhattan closed'.
The sanitized footage people outside the NY area saw was very different from what Manhattan looked like that day. On what was left of the local news grizzly details were coming through. Later, as I compared with family and friends who had only seen CNN or other national networks, I realized our experience, having been there, was very different. The entire experience, for those who live in, or just happened to be in the NY area was very different than what people, even here in DC experienced.
Obviously, there are many more details from that horrible day, but I'll point out one other thing- as we left the area around the Hudson river that afternoon, NY was going through a series of bomb threats, and as we drove out across the Delaware water gap the bridge was being closed by police due to a bomb threat. Even through we had left the city miles behind us, the threats continued long after the towers fell.
Days later, when we returned to DC, we got home pretty much just as DC's version of martial law was lifting. We saw the pentagon, and mourned yet more.
So fast forward to this summer. We drove back across Manhattan, and through the tunnels watching army men in uniform standing at each tunnel entrance. But of all the changes, I'll give but a small example- my partner is a private airplane pilot here in the DC area. Over this year's first anniversary the Aircraft Owners and Pilot's Association issued warnings to pilots about what the consequences of even accidental infractions of regulated airspace could mean. Since we live in the DC area, there's plenty of regulated airspace all around us. With the rainbow colored 'terrorist threat assessment' meter being upped just prior to the anniversary, DC has been ringed with anti-aircraft guns with live ammunition on standby- ready to shoot down incursions should the decision be made to do so.
These days being a pilot is almost a matter of being a member of a 'suspect class'. Not surprising, considering most people don't know a pilot- something like only .6% of the population has their private pilot's license, and there are few voices speaking out on our behalf in favor of a private citizen's right to their own air travel- a freedom taken for granted prior to 9-11-01. College Park airport, the oldest continually operating airport in the country is within DC's airspace radius and was almost shut down. Wilber Wright had trained military men to fly the government's first plane there. It is affectionately called the "Cradle of Aviation". My point is, we've come within a stone's throw of loosing things many people don't even know we had.
So are we 'safer' today? I'd say no. I'd say we're no more or less 'safe' than we ever were. I do know this though, we're a heck of a lot less free- free not only in terms of the number of people currently held by our government unnamed and without access to legal counsel, but also less free even in terms of the ability of private citizens to travel. These are basic freedoms, Americans and immigrants have long enjoyed which if you had asked Joe Blow on the street a year ago if they could be taken away or would be under extreme threat in under a year, ole Joe would have laughed in your face. Things are moving quickly.
Having in some small way, 'been there' myself, I can only say that for me at least, bargaining away freedoms for the illusions of 'safety' is a willing surrender of the concrete for the illusionary.
“Those who would sacrifice a little freedom for temporal safety deserve neither to be safe or free.”
- Benjamin Franklin
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