As typical for the times, I was running late for work. I had another night of engaging in some serious liver damage and awoke with my typical hangover. I did not know what was ready to go down.
At the time I lived in a northern Cincinnati suburb, but worked in Northern Kentucky. I was driving down I-75 when I decided to turn on the radio. My head filled with the kind of fog that brings out the creepy, I heard the news of the attacks. By this time all airplanes in the country had been grounded.
For anyone that knows the greater Cincinnati area, the airport is actually located in Northern Kentucky. Driving down I-75, through downtown Cincinnati, you see a constant flow of air traffic in and out of Greater Cincinnati Airport. This day there was none. Talk about an eerie feeling.
I got to our shop in Kentucky and we all sat there in shock watching the news. The death and destruction, coupled with a tremendous uncertainty of what had just happened.
I believe everyone has similar stories to share about 9/11, but what about after? How did you feel?
Like many other Americans, I had a strong feeling of national pride. From the ashes rose a nation bound tight together. In a country that had just gone through one of the most contentious elections in its history, we all were able to call George Bush our President.
That feeling stayed with me for weeks, even months ahead. Our country was one again. Sadly it didn’t last. Our unity turned to division as the President we once all admired decided to use that national pride as a doggie bag at the all you can eat buffet. George Bush decided to ignore the actual facts of what happened on 9/11 and instead let it become his reason for vengeance on someone who didn’t attack us, Saddam Hussein.
Yes Saddam was a very bad person. Yes he needed to be removed from power, but the fact that he had no involvement in 9/11, and that those who did plan the attack were still out there, meant that Saddam should have been lower on the priority list.
Going to war in Iraq didn’t mean distracting us from going after al Qaeda or the Taliban, even though it did. There was a larger problem Iraq brought. It became a tool to embolden those who attacked us. The United States actions in Iraq became the poster child for recruitment for the terrorists. When you think about that, then you start feeling like we have lived through countless 9/11’s since that summer day 9 years ago.
It would sure be nice to return to the aftermath of the attacks and have that sense of national unity again. Sadly in our new political environment that rose from the ashes, I don’t think that is possible. Not even another attack would bring this country together.
While some may count the losses from 9/11 in property and bodies, much more should be included. The losses from 9/11 continue on to this day as we continue to fight in Afghanistan. The losses continue every time we hear about another part of our Constitution being shredded or the rights of Americans being limited more, inch by inch. The losses continue when Americans are told they aren’t patriotic because they might question or government.
9/11 exposed the country to a radicalism we were not used to, a radicalism we only heard about in brief reports on the news. But from this incident of radicalism, a new radical was born. It was a radical that rose from the airwaves and TV. It’s a radicalism that now controls a major political party in this country. That right there is the greatest loss of them all.