5 years. Half a decade. Hard to believe. I was 32 on that day. I am 37 today. Several friends and family members that have passed on since were still with us on that day. So much can change in 5 years. I have seen a multitude of marriages, a few divorces, several births (including that of my own daughter), and, as mentioned, several deaths since that fateful day 5 years ago. Yet I have never forgotten.
It is one of those events that you remember vividly. Where you were. What you were doing. The mood of those around you. Who told you about this detail, or where you learned that detail. That evening watching Fox News. The next morning and the discussions during a meeting in the office. Every minute detail is etched forever on my brain. Through it all I can remember thinking: "someone must pay".
We retaliated by invading Afghanistan. I can still remember that even though only a little time had passed there were already people on the left saying we shouldn't go into Afghanistan. One woman at work, a devout liberal, claimed that fighting violence with violence only bred more violence. I always wondered what she'd do if someone physically attacked her. What would she do? Buy them a dozen roses?
Another woman posted a link to a petition to not use military force in Afghanistan on our electronic classifieds at work. It seems she was more content with sharply condemning the Taliban. Maybe impose U.N. sanctions against them, since that seemed to work so well with Saddam Hussein. (Please note the dripping sarcasm.) I emailed Human Resources along with several of my colleagues and her short-sighted posting was summarily removed from the classifieds. I wonder if HR would remove it today.
See the problem is that people forget what it felt like on that day. Oh they can tell you where they were, what they were doing, things like that. But so many have forgotten the sadness, and frustration, and the sense of helplessness that embodied Americans on that day.
Some of them used it as yet another opportunity to bash President Bush. All I can say is thanks be to God that Bush won Florida by the narrowest of margins in 2000. Can you imagine President Gore handling the aftermath? Oh brother. He'd tell everyone that to retaliate we should all plant a tree. He'd stop short of suggesting we all hold hands and sing Kumbaya, unless of course the words "my Lord" were removed from the song first. He’d probably suggest congress pass a bill changing them to “my Kommandant”.
5 years later and a lot has changed. Liberals now claim that the attacks were a government conspiracy to justify the invasion of Iraq. Liberals now claim that President Bush, praised in the weeks following the attacks, actually reacted in a "stupid" manner. You'd think after nearly 6 years they could come up with a more creative insult of President Bush, but they always fall back on the "stupid" one. I guess they'd know though, now wouldn't they?
5 years. For this writer the pain is still intense. The pain is still there. The pain hasn't subsided at all. The question is: have you forgotten? Or will September 11, 2001 forever be remembered not just as a day of terror, but as a day when your American pride and resolve was emboldened? I choose the latter. Of course if you are liberal you could always just go plant a tree.