Six years ago, I went to bed after a day that was just like any other. I have no idea what I did that day – the 9th of September was a day like any other.
But the following morning, I woke and turned on the radio. I heard the World Trade Centre had been bombed. In my half awake state, I assumed it was the anniversary of the 1993 attacks. In fact, back then I didn’t even remember when that first attack had been.
But then they said the Pentagon was on fire.
That woke me up.
I rushed out and turned on the TV, and the world has never been the same. I remember that day, how Americans at work were clustered around the TV in the break room. I remember how we kept the internet radio and TV news on constantly.
We understood what had happened. A war had started. A terrible war (as all wars are) but even worse, because this war was one where modern technology and freedoms were being used against those civilisations who had built them over so many years. The world changed.
The following Sunday, we attended a memorial church service. Behind us was a young man who was adorned with “No War” slogans. Too late.
Even worse, the war had started years ago, maybe even before 1993 – but we in the west had not taken any notice.We said we would never forget. But we have.
On this page, you can see all firemen who died in the towers. Google search describes this as “all FDNY members murdered on 9 11 01”. But the page itself has been sanitised, the word “murder” is not to be found in the page, or even in the source as a search engine keyword. Just the other day, a interviewee on German TV described the attacks as “accidents”.
After 9/11 it was realised that the world could not afford to have rouge states, that people who declared war on the west could no longer be laughed off. Afghanistan was retaken and the legitimate government returned. That country is still in turmoil, but it has a chance after many years of war to become a place worth living in again.
Iraq was the next target due to the unresolved issues from the 1990 war. A vicious dictator was removed and eventually hung for his crimes. Other dictators started to take notice. Libya gave up WMD that we didn’t even know they had.
These actions, so clearly obvious in the time after 9/11, have become so controversial that last year the celebrations were held in silence. Some have become so screwed up that they have charged those protecting us with greater crimes than those attacking. They have been egged on by the media, only interested in their next headline. Bush has become like a small town man, who is daily condemned as a murder and rapist in the local daily’s headlines, but in the end of paragraph 13, we discover that the local louts did it. “Illegal” wiretaps were actually authorised by the Democrats (though they’ve now “forgotten” that). Hillary and Kerry voted for Iraq on the same intelligence as Bush (but now they tell us that although they didn’t, Bush knew the truth). Saddam didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, but he still had missiles that were supposed to have been destroyed 12 years earlier. Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, but he was still part of the wider problem that 9/11 showed us.
I remember listening to a mentor of mine speaking about the day WWII ended. He said he and his friends would not have believed that day that we would not have a world-wide conflict for the next 50 years. The reason for this is simple: people remembered the lessons form WWII, and did not let dictators get too dangerous. On 9/11, we received a massive wake up call – but not before we ignored many smaller ones.
I no longer turn to the news fearing that the next attack will be announced. One day New Zealand will be attacked and it will be our turn to mourn the dead and come to terms with mass murder and hatred from those we have only helped. After 6 years, we are still lucky this has not happened.
But it will.
Because we have forgotten.
Stop the ACLU has more remembering.