| June 5, 2005
Anyone who knows me, knows I do not leap into the morning
with a burst of enthusiasm. All my adult life, I have had
to drag myself out of bed, knowing that sometime around the
second cup of coffee, I would find my way unaided around my
home. I have been known to literally walk into walls in my
morning stupor. [The one exclusion is when I have to get up
to travel; Im out of bed like a shot. Thats because
I have hardly slept all night for fear I will miss the plane
So it was this one morning this week when I woke to someone
saying, Since 9/11
I havent a clue
to what he [and I do recall it was a he] was referring. But
throughout the week the phrase has rung in my mind like a
mantra: since 9/11.
2,792 people died in the attacks on the World Trade Center
The world is a distinctly different place. We have troops
on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan and the complexity surrounding
their presence in those places only deepens as time goes on.
More than 1600 men and women have died as a result of that
presence. Since 9/11, we have been waging a war on terrorism
while our government asks little of us as civilians to support
the war or to address potential issues that might have caused
Since 9/11, I have become more aware of myself as an American,
a citizen of this country in this particular time. I have
become more thoughtful regarding the role we play in this
We have, unfortunately, witnessed the deplorable antics of
Abu Ghraib as well as the amazing fortitude and attitude of
We have witnessed the amazing courage of many Iraqis during
the time of the election and we have witnessed the slaughter
of hundreds since then by the insurgents. We have seen children
accidentally killed by Americans and damaged children brought
home by soldiers to be cared for and loved.
We have lived with tightened airport security with lines
that defy description and have learned a whole new dress code
for air travel. But still, despite all that money, a single
engine plane managed to invade the airspace around the White
House causing one local newspaper in D.C. to trumpet something
like: Since 9/11 all our money on capital security wasted!
Since 9/11 the price of gas has gone up dramatically, resulting
in inconvenience for motorists and continuing catastrophes
for airlines that seemed caught in some nether world of impossible
situations, thwarted at every turn by internal and external
events as they attempt to remake themselves.
At a dinner party at our home upstate this past week our
friends, who have been upstate longer than we have, commented
to me that they have become annoyed with the attitude of newcomers
coming up from the city. Since 9/11 Columbia County has become
more popular and the danger is that it will become the new
Since 9/11, people left New York, frightened by a future
in a city that seems destined to remain a target for terrorists.
Some returned. Lately there are conversations again in New
York about people leaving, cashing out of their real estate
and departing the city. As violence mounts in Iraq and Afghanistan,
as the U.S. seems to continue with its gaffes, the fear grows
in the back of our minds that despite Musharif declaring that
the back of Al Qaida has been broken, we are not convinced,
especially since last week when many of us heard numerous
reports on the growing numbers of young Muslims being converted
to terrorism as a response to the U.S. presence in the Mid-East.
There are times when the mantra: since 9/11 becomes
wearing to me. It carries so much meaning and so much feeling
with so few words to describe the things I feel and think.
From a friend of mine I have learned to use the word and
instead of but as and is more inclusive.
And so I have learned that since 9/11 my world is now forever
different, changed, and charged with a shift in the geo-political
realities of the world that may not be finished playing out
in my lifetime. And while I find it intellectually fascinating,
I find it physically threatening.