Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Fear Factor

My life was not changed.

Unless you count the the absence of more than a few ounces of liquid in my luggage or my bare feet walking through the airport security check point...my life was not changed.  

There wasn't a minute I couldn't get cash out of my ATM. 
Not a second I couldn't speak with someone I loved by phone. 
No shortage of resources, no reason to lie awake at night wondering if I was next, no need to gather my children and seek asylum in a place less chaotic.  

After the first few hours of horror and disbelief and rampant rumors - I had nothing to fear.  

My life was not changed.

We have been asked to remember the day... 
I was on the phone a lot.  
I found my husband, who was traveling. 
I found my children, who were in school. 
And I found out my two friends who lived in NYC were okay.  

My life was not changed.  

I did an internet search for information about Osama bin Laden, before he and al Qaeda were named as the criminal minds behind America's tragic day.  I knew he would be the prime suspect in something so dire, and I wanted to know exactly what made him hate my country so.  I found very little to substantiate such murderous intentions.  

And my life was not changed.  

I picked up a carload of high school freshman at the end of the school day, and listened to the stories they had heard passed from teenager to teenager all day:  "Someone hijacked another plane out of Austin and it still hasn't been found."  "The president has been flown out of the country to a secret White House - an exact replica of the one on Pennsylvania Avenue.  No one knows where it is except the pilot of Air Force 1."  "We have bombers flying to the Middle East. Everything there will be dust by tomorrow."  

Ah...their lives were changed.  Those children of ours - who are now adults - they were changed.  They have known nothing of us - in their most vivid memories - but a country at war.  A country that, in less than 24 hours on September 11, 2001, rallied around the red, white and blue and began beating drums and chests for justice.   And oh...we got our justice. This is what our children know... 

We captured one of the world's leaders in the "axis of evil" - Saddam Hussein.  We saw him executed and crippled his nation with a war that left its infrastructure in ruin and 120,000 of its people dead.  We barreled across Afghanistan with our fighting machinery - trickled into Pakistan - killed Osama bin Laden - and left 49,000 dead civilians in our wake.  And we are not finished yet.  We have stressed our allies, emboldened our enemies, and chalked up a $1.45 trillion dollar bill, payable in jobs by the way, for the War on Terror.  

It started on this day, eleven years ago.  And if I am reminded of anything today, it is this:  Nothing good comes from fear.  Any decision made in fear is a questionable one.

These men are the enemy, in case you're wondering...Taliban fighters.

Nothing good comes from fear.  

My life was not changed. 

But, oh, so many were.  So, so many.  


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