Tuesday, 11 September 2012
September 11, 2012: One Interesting Thing - 9/11 Reflections
It's hard to believe it's been eleven years. September 11, 2001. Who would have thought that it would be a day that would change - well - everything. It was a beautiful day. I was living in Ontario's Near North, as it's called. Not far enough north to be really "northern Ontario" but too far north to be either "central" or "southern" Ontario. So it's called the Near North. As I recall, it was sunny and warm. I was sitting at the desk in my study, enjoying a leisurely morning coffee, reading through the morning e-mail, while my wife was watching TV and she suddenly called to say that "a plane crashed into a building in New York." It seemed like a horrible accident. I mean, what else could it have been but a horrible accident? I went to my office, and a few minutes later she called and said "it happened again. Another plane in New York." I remember chills going up and down my back realizing that twice couldn't have been an accident. Then a few minutes later she called again. "A plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington." I went home. It was a surreal day. I had to make a pastoral visit in the afternoon to a parishioner dying of cancer. We spent the whole visit watching TV in silence. Then we prayed - not so much for her, but for the situation that was erupting. What a horrible day that was. I sat in front of the TV most of the day and most of the night. It wasn't morbid curiosity; it was more stunned disbelief that this could have happened. Eleven years later, I know it happened, and it has changed the world. Not for the better I would say. There a "war on terror" now - and, if I may be controversial, we've lost it. The day put a spirit of fear into so many people that in general people now willingly accept increasing (and increasingly meaningless) government restrictions and denials of civil rights and liberties (all in the name of security, of course.) That means the terrorists won. They're under our skin and in our heads. So many live in fear and suspicion. I was at least pleased that the memorials seemed a bit scaled back today. Maybe that is a sign that we're moving on. Maybe our society can let it go just a bit and look at the terrorists and say "we're not going to let you dictate how we live." Maybe. But I'm not really all that hopeful. My condolences to the families who still struggle with having lost loved ones on that terrible day.