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It has been 18 years.

We need to remember something today. We need to remember that intolerance of those who chose to be different killed almost 3000 people. Many innocent of anything more than not praying to a specific name of God. Many as heroes, rushing in to save their fellow Americans.

And a few as mass murdering swine.

There is nothing gained from forgetting this. Nothing gained from downplaying the event, or the cause. People did this. Not ‘some people did something’ or ‘airplanes hit’. People. People motivated by hate, envy, inferiority in culture and society, and a faith that their god wants all of us to die.

As Christians, we are called to forgive them. And I do. They bear the responsibility for their actions. They were also lied to by evil people bent on making others pay for their inadequacies. There is only so much you can do to resist your environment, after all.

I originally posted this over on LiveJournal on September 11, 2002.
11 September 2001. That date is a landmark in America. It joins 04 July 1776; 07 December 1941; and 22 November 1963 as dates that define the American historical landscape. Turning points, if you will. Moments that one knows where they were, and what they were doing. This is about that memory. An exorcism, if you will, an exercise in recollection.
I am beginning this document on August 07, 2002, mainly to leave enough time to finish, edit, polish, and revise before I post it. It is my hope that people reading this will respond with their own stories, thoughts, and hopes for the future. This is intended to be apolitical, and I will, if needed, enforce that. I am not asking for you to hold back, but I don’t want people soapboxing about conspiracy, evil government, or such. My journal, my rules. Nya.
The day started like any other that September, that is, looking for a job. I had been fired in late August, and had no leads. I was planning to file for unemployment that day, and hit Target and some other places. Possibly sell plasma or something for quick cash. Like most days, I had CNN Headline News on, and they were running a fluff piece, even by September 10 standards. My father was up, and waiting for the Charter Cable guy to show up to install the digital cable service. He had taken the day off, and was in the kitchen. CNN broke in, with a report of the World Trade Center on fire. I looked up, and saw the billows of smoke, and leapt up, strode to the kitchen, and told Dad that he was going to work, as the WTC was on fire. He looked up, and went into the bedroom to turn on the TV there. I returned to my room, thinking nothing of it but a high-rise fire.
Then the CNN field reporter mentioned that it had appeared that an airliner had crashed into the tower. My trivia-soaked mind was cast back to July 28, 1945, when a B-25 bomber crashed into the Empire State building. That was in fog, but a crashing airplane is often hard to control, and it was just an accident. I was solidly convinced that this was the most reasonable explanation, indeed, the only one. Then the second plane hit.
Reality stopped.
I knew now that I was watching history in the most real sense. This was a day the world changed. The commentary went from rumors of a crash to…honestly, I can’t recall. Something less than Herb Morrison‘s “Oh! The humanity!” at the crash of the Hindenburg. My focus narrowed, and I felt my mind slip into a strange place. I had been there before. This was my ‘information overload’ mode, used for absorbing more information than is healthy. Last time I used it was when the Murrah building in Oklahoma City was destroyed. But then my father cut through my fog. He reminded me that I had to go and apply for jobs, that couldn’t be put on hold. I think, in a way, that set my mindset over the whole thing. More on that later.
As I drove about Birmingham, the radio was solid coverage, and everywhere TVs had been placed to allow the news to be delivered. I stood in Target, shocked to the core, as the first tower fell. The second fell while I was in the local employment office, waiting to be called back. By then, I was overwhelmed. I sat in the back reading while everyone around me watched the sole TV. The musak was off. That sticks, for some reason. I recall hearing that Bush, told of the disaster while in a classroom in Florida, was somewhere in Air Force One, and there was an implied criticism of his actions, as if he could have made a difference. Still, no one knew what was next, or if it was over. It felt like a surreal slice of history. Almost like Orson Wells’ broadcast of War of the Worlds. I wanted to disbelieve, but the images were constant.
At this time, no one knew what was actually happening. There were rumors of planes down across New England. There was only one, of course, Flight 93. Downed by the passengers as the alternative to smashing into a building. Even then, I knew two things. Hijacking of planes with Americans on board had ended, and we were going to war.
The rest of the day is a blur of memory, or lack thereof. I recall hearing that the Pentagon was hit, and most of official Washington evacuated. But that was lost in the horrors from New York. And in there came the thought, what if Laura Bush was killed? I recoiled in horror at where that led. America holds several onlys in the books. Included is the only company to use atomics on another country. I feared for the villains of this play. America’s wrath, once roused, has proven to be great.
In Palestine, people danced in the streets, celebrating. In Birmingham, people celebrated too. At the bus station. It is, for them, lucky no one but a passing patrol officer saw them. This, more than anything drove home the point that people can hate, and hate those who have never done them harm or injury. That, as much as anything was a cold shock. Or, more accurately, a cold shock to move from a mere acceptance of the theory to visual, permanent, evidence of the fact backed by deeds.
And time passed. And memories smoothed. And now a year has passed.
What has the time to reflect brought? New York is changed, forever. The heroes of Flight 93 set a new standard in Americanism. No one can do less. Thus, where a hijack was an inconvenience, and free trip to Uganda or something, now it means death to the hijackers, we have a standard to uphold. The government has scared me more this year than at any time in my life. Combined. This business of vague, unsubstantiated warnings, shadow governments, and such is not comforting. And I like Bush. We have mobilized, and taken a foreign government from power in a matter of months. That has never been done before. We have ordered our military to shoot down airliners. That has never been done before.
But what my Father said that morning, as the world ended around us all, still holds. We can’t let this stop us from doing what needs doing. And that life goes on.
Most of all, life goes on.

The song for today comes from VNV Nation. VNV stands for Victory not Vengeance. On their first full length album, Praise the Fallen, they included a song called Honour. The lyrics are below.

Passive fields. January two thousand and twelve.
A nation that stands alone.
Cold voices, faces pale,
gathered unto their judgement day.
Such words remain unspoken.
Such pride remains unbroken.
Just mothers to stand in vain and cry.
Tears and medals in the rain.
Shall I recall when justice did prevail?
No reason to be found why reason did fail.
The all clear resounding.
The way was clear to rebuild this land.
Shall I call on you to guide me well,
to see our hopes and dreams fulfilled?
On this day of our ascension.
Stand your ground this is what we are fighting for.
For our spirit and laws and ways.
Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.
For heaven or hell we shall not wait.
Shall I think of honour as lies
or lament it’s aged slow demise?
Shall I stand as a cold reminder
on this day in this stone chamber?
The all clear resounding.
The way was clear to rebuild this land.
Shall I call on you to guide me well.
To see our hopes and dreams fulfilled.
On this day of our ascension,
on this day we praise the fallen.
Stand your ground this is what we are fighting for.
For our spirit and laws and ways.
Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.
For heaven or hell we shall not wait.
Shall I think of honour as lies
or lament it’s aged slow demise?
Shall I stand as a cold reminder
on this day in this stone chamber?
Makes me think.