Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Later

I have mixed feelings about today's "observance" of the ten year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America that have come to be known simply as 9/11.  I remember the day vividly; it was like watching a movie unfold on TV with the most realistic special effects I'd ever seen.  We weren't too far from New York.  We could see the smoke on the horizon.

It was a scary time.  The years that followed were even more so.  We went to war against an opponent we couldn't see.  They weren't confined to any one location.  Even worse, our country decided to label it the "War on Terror."  Knowing our nation's almost arrogant proclamation that it never loses wars and that our military was/is the best in the world, it was frightening to think that our government wasn't going to stop until terrorism itself was eradicated.  Not because we didn't WANT it that way, but because terrorists will always rise up from one place or another.  You can't catch ALL of them any more than you can catch ALL criminals across the world.  So, faced with an objective that could never be reached and a military that doesn't stop until the job is done, I couldn't help but feel that we were going to be stuck at war forever. 

And that's just what Osama Bin Laden was looking for.

Ten years later, and we're still at war.  Bin Laden is dead, but the events of 9/11 have already had their effects.  Telephones wiretapped without permission, surveillance cameras in public places, intrusive and violating searches/pat-downs at airports, and much much more have become a part of life for every citizen of this nation.  Loyal or disloyal, peaceful or violent, loving or unloving - they're all the same to good ol' Uncle Sam.  And it's all in the desperate struggle to make sure another 9/11 doesn't happen. 

Bin Laden may be gone, but his mission of seeing America destroyed is still a work in progress.  9/11 set in motion a chain of events that continues to reverberate throughout our nation's very way of life.  Government officials call the changes "necessary."  Some of our citizens agree, sadly.  But for a large number of us, seeing our freedoms taken away one by one has been a bitter pill to swallow.  Not because we have anything to hide, but because the fall of ANY of our freedoms opens the way for the loss of more. 

An episode of Star Trek, summed up in these clips, says it all:

The Drumhead Trial

"The road from legitimate suspicion to rampant paranoia is very much shorter than we think.  Something is very wrong here, Mr. Worf.  I do not like what we've become."

"You know, there are some words I've known since I was a school boy.  With the first link, a chain is forged.  The first speech censured,  the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied chains us all irrevocably ... The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged."

"You think we've come so far.  The torture of heretics, the burning of witches, all ancient history.  Then, before you can blink an eye, suddenly it threatens to start all over again."

"Villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot.  Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well camouflaged."

That sums up my feelings about America these days.

Then there is another viewpoint that was recently brought to my attention.  Be warned; I found this offensive at first.  Until I read the reasoning.

Someone posted this online:  "What's the difference between a cow and 9/11?  After 10 years, you stop milking the cow."

As someone close to 9/11 when it happened, that kind of bothered me at first.  But then I looked into the logic behind it.

We lost a total of 2,977 victims on 9/11.  Yes, that is tragic and sad.  You know what else is sad?  The 4500 or so American troops lost during the wars that followed.  And according to a recent study by Brown University, at least 132,000 civilians have died from both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars - and that's a conservative number, they claim. 

The Vietnam War claimed nearly 40,000 American troops.  Civilian deaths numbered in the millions.

The Gulf War claimed approximately 150 troops.  Yet over 103,000 civilians died during attacks. 

What about the world wars?  What about the innocents that died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki when the atomic bombs were dropped? 

Why do we mourn the deaths of 3,000 civilians and ignore so many others?  When comparing the numbers, our losses almost seem tame. 

Then there are natural disasters which are seemingly forgotten.  Does anyone even think about Japan anymore?  Between 20,000 to 30,000 lost there.  The government of Haiti puts the death toll from the 2010 quake at 316,000.  How about the 2004 earthquake in the Indian ocean that sent a tsunami across several countries that saw 185,000 dead and 1.69 million displaces from their homes?

The point is that absolutely tragic things happen across this world, yet we sit here ten years later still licking our wounds from 3,000 dead.  Are we really that self-centered that the 3,000 people in the twin towers deserve to be remembered every day while the hundreds of thousands of innocent lives taken by war are forgotten?  Are those 3,000 people really that much more important than those killed by natural disasters that were NO ONE'S fault?

Yes, 9/11 was sad.  But I can't help but feel just a little self-centered worrying about it when there are millions others who've suffered tragic losses as well  How are the cleanup efforts proceeding from the Alabama tornadoes?  Joplin, Missouri?  When was the last time you heard anything about Japan's recovery?  Are the families of the civilians lost in the Iraq/Afghanistan war seeing any sort of aid?

I want to propose a change.  I don't think 9/11 should just be about the World Trade Center.  I don't think it should just be about the Pentagon or Flight 93.  I think 9/11 should be a day of mourning for all the innocents.  Whether it be war or natural disaster or disease or whatever, 9/11 should be a day of remembrance.  The images of the twin towers plastered with the slogan "We Will Never Forget" seem to have prevented us from healing over something that, outside of the "safety" of America's walls, happens every day in random countries around the world.  So, instead of refusing to forget our own pain, perhaps we should try to remember the pain of others.

It's time we realize that the world doesn't revolve around us.

With that, I'd like to extend my condolences and prayers for anyone stricken by tragedy, anyone struggling through loss, anyone suffering from devastation.  Whether it's a lost loved one from 9/11 or a child that died of pneumonia, if you're hurting, my heart goes out to you.  I pray that God lifts up your soul and comforts your sadness.  You're not alone in your struggle.  Not ever. 

Never forget that.

God bless,

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Building Blocks, by Kevin Domenic - Coming This Fall

Here's a snippet from my upcoming Christian novel, Building Blocks.  I hope to have the book available to readers by Halloween, but if not, then certainly by Thanksgiving.  Hope this wets your appetite!


Doc wanted me to come in early the morning after our last session because he wanted to have some extra time to go over everything we had witnessed during the past two weeks.  So I showed up at his office a little after six in the morning.  Surprisingly, his aeromobile wasn't parked outside.  There were no lights in the building, and now that I think about it, there had been no activity on the street either.  The town was desolate.
I waited for him to arrive, but when he hadn't shown up by , I decided to go knock on the office door.  Maybe his wife had dropped him off.  Did he even have a wife?  I started to realize that I knew nothing about Doc.  Not about his family, his friends, his hobbies, likes, dislikes, or anything else.  And though I realize that doctors generally try to avoid personal friendships with their patients, one would think that I'd have learned something about the man given all the time we've spent together working on my issues.  But I knew nothing at all.
Not that it mattered, anyway.  Everything I thought I knew was about to be turned upside down.  As soon as my knuckles connected with the wooden door, the world turned white.


Keep your eyes here for the latest updates!

God bless,
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God bless,