Saturday, September 10, 2011


I understand that the following post is completely political. I understand that my opinions are mine alone and as such should not be regarded as the opinion or position of any other person or entity. I say the things that I say not to be popular but to be truthful and honest about what is in my own heart. I love the United States of America. I am a patriot; I am not blind. Our nation has always had flaws and always will, but I believe that we should purpose to improve every time we have the opportunity.

I suppose it is de rigueur to write about 9/11/01 today. To be honest, I was going go against the flow and write about Grandparents Day instead, but, obviously, I changed my mind.

First, like everyone else, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing that day.  I was active duty military on 9-11. 
I remember. 
I remember rushing home to grab my deployment bag, not to deploy but because we were told that we may not get to leave base for days. Almost my whole shop deployed immediately. The attacks were in the morning, by 2 pm my hospital was a ghost town. I didn’t deploy because I was 6 months pregnant with our first child. I did however get to work 16 hour days for the duration in order  to keep the place running. The teams we sent weren’t gone long. They were set up for rescue and recovery and medical care. There wasn’t much rescue to be done. Our pathologists did stay a bit long for the recovery and ID, but not very long because there was not enough recoverable remains. 
I remember calling my mom and telling her I was ok. I remember hugging my husband before heading back to base with my bag.
 I remember knowing that my base was a prime target and knowing that we were under a very real threat. 
I remember being finally being released from duty and getting home about 2 am and us holding each other more tightly than ever before.
I remember feeling the baby kick in between us, protesting being squashed, and wondering what world he would be born into. 
There are moments that are burned into my memory and then so much blur.
I remember driving home past flag-wavers in the weeks after the attacks.
I remember driving home past protesters the following month when Operation Enduring Freedom began. 
I remember the promises that "we will not let them win!"
I have been hearing similar promises for 10 years. 

I'm afraid I disagree. 

It is difficult to obtain a stated goal of terrorism, but poking around a bit I've found that terrorism is generally agreed to be acts of crime and violence intended to invoke  and provoke a state of terror or fear.  The goals of terrorists are varied, but include, the intent to force a change in government policy and create both instability, shame (government can't keep citizens safe), and create tension between government and citizens by forcing the government to infringe on civil liberties. 

If these goals are even partly accurate, the terrorists have won. 

The lengths to which our country has gone since 9/11 to bring about security are astounding.  I don't have time to go into it here, but take some time  to read about the interment camps for Americans of Japanese ancestry after Pearl Harbor.  For two full years, our government kept free citizens in detention camps based solely on their ethnic heritage. It was not only Japanese blood that was targeted, but they bore the brunt.  One thing that strikes me about this is that in many cases the camps were set up on Native American Reservations and the Native Americans were paid by the government for having the camps.  To rank below Native Americans on the government's hierarchy?  that is pretty low.    
My point is, you would think we would have learned from that.  Obviously not.  As terrible as the detention camps were, at "least" they were only taking away the freedoms of a targeted population. 
 Post 9/11, we have signed away our freedoms as a whole. The scary thing is that because we haven't been rounded up and made to live in tar-paper shacks, we really don't find that it matters in our day to  day lives; it is very easy to ignore. 

Our population living in fear?  check.
Our government unstable? check. 
Tension between citizens and government? check.
Loss of civil liberties imposed on us by our own government? check.

We have stooped to policies and behaviors that are a shame to our National pride. 
 We have attacked and invaded independent countries when those countries did not first make war with us.  
We have captured and imprisoned 1000's of foreign citizens who we have no jurisdiction over, to the point where we will not even  imprison them on our own soil lest we then have to extend the protection of our constitution to them.  
We say, "we are doing nothing compared to what was done to us."  Since when do we hold ourselves to a standard of, anything better than terrorism is ok?
We have squandered lives and resources of our own military. 
We have contributed to the spilling of the blood of thousands of foreign civilians. 

Almost 3,000 people died in the 9/11 attacks. The number of US military deaths in the "war on terror" passed that 5 years ago. The number of Iraqi, Afghan , and Pakistani civilians has passed that number over, and over, and over.  If we are trying to match blood for blood, surely the debt has been paid?

What happened on 9/11/01 changed our lives and our nation forever.  I hear much rhetoric about not letting those deaths be in vain. 
No normal person would tell their loved ones, "Keep my memory by living in grief and hiding from reality." and yet, that is the burden that we are placing on those who died if we insist on living a fear driven life. 
Fear, anger, and revenge have been hallmarks of our nation's existence over the past few years
I cannot speak for those who died and conjecture whether or not they would say that the price we are paying for our guise of security is worthwhile.  
No one can. 
What we can do is say that the America that they died knowing, has not also died.  
We can  continue to live and live freely.  
We can begin to act, as a nation, in ways that will let us hold our heads high. 
We can reclaim our freedoms and tell the terrorists who hate our way of life that we have always paid for our freedom with blood and we will continue to do so, but we will NOT sign away our liberty for the guise of security!   . 
I think it is time to be done. 
It is time to not only remember, but rebuild. Not only the physical structures, but the heart of our nation.  

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