Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Never Forget

Today is a pivotal milestone in US History. Today we are marking the 10th Anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and an attempted attack of the White House or Capital Building.

For those too young to remember 9/11, here is a summary. On September 11, 2001, 4 planes were hijacked by al-Qaeda suicide bombers. Two of those planes crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. One plane hit the Pentagon building. A fourth plane was headed either for the White House or the Capital Building in D.C. but the attack was thwarted when passengers attempted to retake control of the airliner. Instead of hitting whatever target, that plane went down in a field in Pennsylvania. There were no survivors on any of the four planes. The Twin Towers collapsed hours after they were hit, killing more people in the process that had been trapped in the buildings. Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks, including over 400 fire fighters, police officers, paramedics, and EMTs that were the part of the first responders to the Towers. Over 70 countries lost at least one citizen in the attack and a huge majority of deaths were civilians.

3 years after the attack, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden claimed responsibility for these heinous acts. They cited a bunch of bullshit motivations for it... basically they said the US was messing in their affairs and they didn't like it. Stupid. The results of the attack were the War on Terror, invasion of Afghanistan, and the enacting of the USA Patriot Act. It was just a few months ago that bin Laden was located and killed in a firefight with US soldiers in Pakistan. 10 years. It took 10 freaking years to find him. His body was unceremoniously dumped at sea by US forces to avoid a terrorist shrine, even though such a burial is pretty much a big eff you to his traditions.

In the aftermath of 9/11, we got the Homeland Security Act (which created the Department of Homeland Security) and the USA Patriot Act. Hate crimes against Muslims, Middle Eastern descendants, southeast Asians, and Sikhs spiked exponentially in the US. The US invaded Iraq in 2003 and executed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in 2006 in a failed bid to locate weapons of mass destruction.

10 years after 9/11, we are still trying to rebuild and recover from the attacks. The Pentagon was repaired within a year but the degrading economy has forced development of the Twin Towers area to delay rebuilding by as late as 2036. Memorials have been built at the Twin Tower site and the Pentagon. Memorial building at the Twin Towers site continues today. A temporary memorial for the victims that died in Pennsylvania is slated to be removed and replaced by a permanent memorial today on the 10th anniversary.

This is going to be a hard day for many people. Try to keep that in mind as you go about your day. Remember the victims and honor their memories. Participate in memorial events if you are so inclined. They are happening everywhere today. Today is a day to reach out to your fellow man in solidarity and remembrance. Make it so.

Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS

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