Some Thoughts on 9/11

I wasn’t planning on writing a post about 9/11. I feel like so much has already been said today, and the whole topic feels pretty saturated right now. 
But I do have some thoughts, and some questions. 
What happened on 9/11/01 was a terrible, horrific tragedy. Every life lost was precious. Every heroic deed performed by firefighters, police officers, and the average Joe was commendable to the highest degree. No question about it.
The atrocities committed by those responsible for the attacks are neither excusable nor defensible. Under no creed, religious or political or otherwise, is it acceptable to fly a plane full of people into a building full of people. No question about that, either.
The families of the victims deserve to grieve and process their loss however they need to. The rest of us mourn for them, and also for the loss of the illusion that we were untouchable, that our country was too big or too great or too powerful to see such a dreadful event unfold on our soil. 
That being said, I have some other thoughts that I’m going to try to convey without being at all disrespectful to those who lost loved ones that day.
One thought: I’ve seen a lot of t-shirts and billboards and such with slogans like, “Never forget.” What exactly does that mean? I hope people are trying to keep the memories of those who lost their lives that day alive, but I have a feeling there’s something deeper beneath the surface of that sentiment. “Never forget” seems frightfully close to “Never forgive.” And I understand that – what happened on 9/11 is not a forgivable act. The problem, however, is that the “who” that we are determined (however unconsciously) not to forgive is a fuzzy enemy that looks like a billion people living on the other side of the world with names like Husayn or Ali. Of course we shouldn’t forget 9/11. I don’t think there’s any danger of that happening. The more subtle meaning of the “never forget” line sort of gives me pause. 
And another thought – once again, no disrespect intended. More than 2900 innocent people were killed in the attacks on 9/11. Tragic, absolutely. At the same time, more than 16,000 children die every single day of starvation. Every single day. Innocent children. 16,000 of them. So many people were killed in the Haiti earthquake in 2010 that there’s no official death toll (anywhere between 50,000 and 230,000). Every day, thousands of people are killed in senseless conflicts in war-torn nations (some of which we are directly involved in and/or responsible for). Are these innocent people not also part of our human family? Where are all the t-shirts, coffee mugs, tear-jerking songs, and commemorative television specials about them? 
I can appreciate all of the efforts that have been put into honoring the losses on 9/11. But please forgive me when I say I can’t help but feel it’s a bit disproportionate. I love America, and I feel very fortunate to be an American. And I can’t begin to imagine what it would have been like to lose a loved one in such a horrific manner as 9/11, any more than I can imagine what it would be like to helplessly watch my child starve to death. But I feel like I’m supposed to feel more loyalty or sympathy or sense of loss toward the victims of 9/11 than I do to a five-year-old in Ethiopia, just because they happened to be born in the same country I was. And that feels wrong to me. 
Maybe I’m just feeling saturated today. And I apologize if I’ve offended anyone with these thoughts. I read a lot of different articles from a lot of different perspectives today. So many thoughts going through my head, and I feel like I should explain myself more fully, but it’s past my bedtime and my brain is getting foggy. 
Feel free to share your thoughts. I’m up for a good discussion. 🙂
Lots of love to all.

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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

Comments 4

  1. Suzanne – yes, don’t even get me started on the massive amounts of money thrown at professional sports. I’m not down on professional sports, but someone being paid 10 million dollars to play a game that most people play for fun makes absolutely no sense. There really is enough money in the world to solve all of our problems, if we could just sort out our priorities a bit.

    Mom – Uncle David makes a good point.

    LakeMom – That was a very insightful article. He expressed many of those thoughts that were floating around in my head last night that I couldn’t quite get out. Definitely some food for thought. Thanks for that!

  2. Your uncle made an interesting comment: that 9/11 happened in the middle of the network, the center of the economic area, it is more visible, and people paid more attention because of that. Ethiopia is one little phone line out at the edge.

  3. This is a thought-provoking post and a very brave one to write. I read some statistics in this post yesterday that were also helpful.

    Many more people died of hunger, cancer, and AIDS that day than in the attacks. It feels like we are working hard to hold on to hatred and anger when we should be honoring the memories of those who died by building peace between nations and preventing other unnecessary deaths (like those from hunger, cancer and AIDS).

  4. I agree with you Annie. I wonder why it is that we forget about all the other starving, suffering people around the world (or in our own country for that matter) daily. I know that 9/11 is a day I’ll never forget, but I do wish we could put things into perspective. However, our society seems to be really talented at focusing on the wrong things. Take, for example, the SuperBowl. How many millions and billions of dollars go toward that one game? And if we took those millions and billions of dollars and donated them either to world hunger or even to the deficit in our own country, things would be different. It seems like as a country/society, our priorities are out of whack. I do think remembering 9/11 is important, but so is remembering everything else.

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