9/11/01 – 9/11/06
I remember each detail of 9/11/01 like it was yesterday. Standing on lower Fifth Avenue with hordes of people. It was as if the world had stopped. Cars were stopped. We all just stared in horror watching the tower burn in the horizon. Then another plane swerved behind the burning building and we all witnessed the place fly directly into the other tower. There was an audible gasp down 5th Avenue. Did we all just see what we thought we saw?
Walking home up 6th Avenue from Bleeker street reminded me of a war movie. You’d look into each face you’d pass looking for answers. People were in shock. People were covered with soot. Hundreds of people were in line at St. Vincents Hospital go give blood to the survivors when there would be just a few. How do you explain to 3 kids who are 10, 8 and 5 why someone would fly a plane in to the twin towers?
We had friends move out of the city for a year. We had friends displaced from their homes. But New Yorkers are tough and I believe that Americans as a whole are strong. We have moved on. We have rebuilt. We still fly. We still travel. But, the world changed that day.
The world looked to us to be leaders and visionaries for a different future on 9/11/01. We are after all a superpower. We have resources to make changes. Leaders of the world. Something that nobody had ever envisioned had happened on our land. Now it could happen anywhere.
Instead of changing the world, our Government, that we had voted in to be our leaders chose to execute on a vision that they had already laid out for themselves way before 9/11 ever happened. They didn’t change anything based on events that occurred. They stayed their course. They squandered our opportunity as a country to be a real leader of the world. They manipulated an unthinkable tragedy and used it for their own purposes.
My tears today are not only in memory of that awful day but how we are viewed around the world. On 9/10/01 America was a leader. Americans were peacemakers. Americans were visionaries. The leaders of this country have left the world a far worse place than it was on 9/10/01 on many levels. They didn’t work with people around the world to create a safer place to raise our families, to grow old, to enjoy our lives. They created a place where people around the world look at us and our saddened and shake their heads and know in their hearts that we have turned the world upside down. We chose the wrong path. We have squandered our opportunity as a leader of the world. What really makes me sad today is I am not sure that we will ever be able to capture that back.
I remember feeling the same way you do now while on campus back in the 80’s, during an administration of “trickle down economics” and “we’re going in” diplomacy.
My dad always went by a simple rule. Archaic as it sounded most of my life it makes more and more sense to me as time goes by. The game doesn’t change; just the players. I think we will capture our opportunity back GG…like all things…in time.