Two 'Planes. Two Buildings. One Tragedy.

Today is two days before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York, an event which took thousands of lives, but shook the entire world, possibly being the defining influence on U.S. foreign policy for the last decade.
It seems, like with other age-defining moments in history, everybody remembers where they were when the attacks took place. I remember at that time that I was very ill, staying in bed all day, only to awake, bleary-eyed, some time in the early evening. So it was that I awoke around 6 pm, and, turning on the TV, found the BBC news running constantly, relaying the story and pictures from across the Atlantic. At first, like so many, I almost couldn't believe what I was seeing. Was this a film? Was this real? Did it really happen? I was in genuine shock at the events which had unfolded and at the gradual realisation that, yes, this was real. This was not a film. This had really happened.
With the unfolding of the years since the attacks, and with the subsequent wars being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan, I have grown a little cynical of the government's motives, both here and in the U.S.. What, I think, one cannot be cynical about, though, is the way New Yorkers responded to the attacks on their city. Even Oliver Stone, the sometimes controversial film-maker and oftentimes critic of U.S. policy, said that, almost universally, people behaved well that day, and his film, "World Trade Center", is a sort of celebration of the heroism displayed amidst the chaos and tragedy, a paean to the human will and spirit to overcome adversity.
Of course, there have been many more terrorist attacks since that day, including the 7/7 bombings in London. But none seem to have had both the real and also symbolic significance of the events of 9/11, and since that day, it seems, life has changed. The face of our foreign and domestic affairs has shifted to account for the dangers of the terrorist threat, and unfortunately, this has led some to become fearful of, and to vilify, the whole Muslim community. Even here in Stoke-on-Trent very recently, two people attempted to set fire to a local newly built mosque. One, it transpired, had served in our armed forces. Many, it seems, have begun to question multi-culturalism itself, most notably the writer, Martin Amis, who has pronounced multi-culturalism to be "a polite fiction".
The fall-out from those terrible events which took place now almost exactly ten years ago, then, has not been good. And perhaps the tragedy of that day is extending itself, with more of our troops dying abroad, and the motives of our government's involvement in those areas, to my mind, becoming increasingly dubious.
So, there were two 'planes. There were two buildings. And there was one tragedy, so great that it continues to send shock-waves into our present. As we all remember that day, then, perhaps we should concentrate on the only good thing which seems to have come out of it, and that is the heroism and fortitude displayed by those who were there in New York that day.   


The Manic Chef said…
David, thank you for writing this, for in part it expresses my sentiments, but at present with me going into a "gray mode" mind set, it's best I not think about it. All I can say is that the suffering that was experienced on that day still humbles me in a most profound manner, a multitude of sorrow never to be forgotten. Later.....
David said…
Dear Manic Chef,
Thank you for your comment.
And, yes, unfortunately, it is one of those things that can perhaps never be forgotten.
One thing I didn't mention in my post was that, according to reports at the time, many who were in the twin towers who got the opportunity, rang loved ones to tell them how much they loved them because they thought they might very well not make it out alive. I don't know, but perhaps some solace and positivity can be taken from that, the final message of the disaster being one of love, not hate. Then again, perhaps it just makes the whole thing all the more heart-breaking.
Hoping you get out of "gray mode" soon,
With Very Best Wishes,
Although it saddens me to recall the haunting images of 9/11, it is vitally important that those who lost their lives are not forgotten. Ever.

Fitting tribute. Thanks for remembering.
David said…
Hi Wendy,
Thanks for commenting and I'm sure everyone would echo your sentiments about those who lost their lives on that tragic day.
With Very Best Wishes,

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