I get why people aren't emotionally attached to 9/11 or even the invasion of Afghanistan or Iraq. I probably felt the same about Waco or the Oklahoma City bombing or the USS Cole. For me 9/11 was one of the formative moments of my early years.
I remember my freshman year of high school, I was brushing my teeth in my bathroom when I heard my dad say "They just crashed two planes into the Twin Towers." I didn't believe him. I thought he was imagining things or exaggerating things. When I came down to the bathroom I was completely fixated, eating my breakfast, and watching this horror happen to my country. I didn't know what to make of it. I don't think my mom and I spoke the whole way towards my high school.
When I got there we found that our TVs had shitty reception, so we only had to imagine what was happening on the other side of America.
One memory I have, waiting outside my Biblical History class was watching kids from the high school next door go home because of the attacks on the Pentagon and New York and Pennslyvania. I remember that everyone was paranoid at the time and locals thought that they'd attack JPL maybe if they got the chance. That ended up being bullshit so we just called all the kids going home from classes pussies and wusses because they got out of school for the day.
When I got home I heard we bombed Afghanistan and it wasn't until a month later that we finally invaded. From there it's all kind of a blur and it all runs together in my mind. I was a dumb high schooler, but I remember that day so vividly. It won't ever leave me. And while Iraq and everything else changed in my mind, as did the war in Afghanistan, I don't forget what I went through and what I felt on that day.
I think everyone does. It's kind of funny, in a way. Le Monde, the leading French newspaper-- a paper that has no great sympathy towards Republican America-- ran the headline "We Are All Americans" the day after. Even Gadaffi condemned the attacks. It did matter. And it doesn't matter because it was America or because of capitalist bullshit or whatever else your college degree is feeding you, it matter because three thousand innocent human beings were murdered because of the worst kind of rationality and perversion. Go ahead and compare it with whatever else, but this happened while I was alive and it happened in my country and there's a lot of people who aren't as maybe directly connected as me or a lot of other people, but that doesn't disqualify what we felt and what we feel now.
It's a complicated thing and I get that. I know that. I read a lot and I read a lot about national security and terrorism and Afghanistan and a lot of other things and that still doesn't take away from what happened.
I remember when it was the tenth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing and as a kid I never got why that mattered or what the big deal was. I never felt it. But, when the tenth anniversary came-- which was post 9/11, obviously-- it hit me. I was amazed at how much time had passed and I remembered how much of my life had been involved with that. Now that we're less than six months away from the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I don't know what to feel. Not exactly, anyways. I imagine it doesn't involve any sort of joy. I'd rather Osama be alive and 9/11 never happened than what we have now. That doesn't mean I won't find the little pleasures in all of this.
I'm glad this has some sort of a cap for me and for quite a number of people in this country. A monster is dead. There's no amount of sour grapes that can take away what that means.