True “Victims” of 9/11
Each year since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, my guts growl selfishly with pain. I know the lives of many families changed that day with the loss of loved ones. However, the greatest impact on our society was the loss of our freedom – which we will likely never regain.
Air travel has changed the most. Gone are the days you could purchase a plane ticket and "run" to catch a plane. Since 9/11 we are scanned, x-rayed, questioned, filmed and recorded. Our itineraries are monitored and we are accounted for in every step we take while within the vicinity of an airport – all in the name of security.
Security is a form of protection where a separation is created between the assets (us) and the threat (them.) These separations are referred to as "controls," and sometimes include changes made to the asset or the threat. We are the assets in this scenario and because we do not know (or actively wish to engage) the "threats," it leaves the "controls" to be placed on us.
Freedom happens when individuals have control over their own actions. They make choices by their own free will without coercion and then take responsibility for those actions. In general, we have regulated or removed the freedom of the average citizen in the name of "security" and have not vanquished our enemies for fear of stepping on their freedoms!
About 18-months after the 9/11 attacks, a client of mine came into my insurance agency and we had a long chat. He was a World War II veteran having served as a bomber pilot in the South Pacific. He hated war and knew regardless of how precise he executed the missions he flew his bombs killed thousands of innocents. None-the-less, he was proud of his service.
He told me war was an ugly necessity and sometimes good men did bad things to protect the ones they loved. He talked about how he volunteered for service even though he had been given a farm deferment. Pearl Harbor was his 9/11. It motivated him to leave the security of the farm to fight for his country 12 time zones away from home. The conversation continued with his ideas of swift, direct retaliation ending in victory.
I know of no one who does not have respect for veterans especially those of "the greatest generation." They did what was needed to defend and protect – oftentimes it was ugly, sometimes it was never to be discussed, and like all war, it was politically incorrect.
America has succumbed to fear, not a fear of the enemy or foe who would invade our soil; but a fear of our own self-reflection. Post 9/11 in the name of political correctness, we have traded our freedoms for controls which we hope bring our society a sense of security. However, they only made us a little weaker.
Each year on 9/11 I feel sorry for those who lost loved ones when we were attacked by citizens of a foreign nation. The biggest loss, for me personally, has proven to be our national loss of confidence, self-respect and freedom. I have often wondered if the enemy is laughing at the lingering effect they inflicted on the average American's way of life.
Next time you have your bag checked at the gate, go through a metal detector, swipe an ID card, show two forms of identification to do your banking or stare into another "security" camera – think about what was truly taken from us on 9/11/2001.