Remembering 9-11-2001

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It was 15 years ago today that the United States suffered the worst attack on our soil since the Civil War. Four planes, 19 hijackers and 3,121 victims, directly killed in the attacks. Thousands more first and second responders who died as a result of breathing in the fumes from “the pile,” as one New York City firefighter called ground zero after the attacks.

A lot has taken place as a result of those terrorist attacks: tighter scrutiny of passengers and cargo/baggage getting on planes most prominently. At the very least lip service to no fly lists and hopefully better coordination between our law enforcement and intelligence communities. The creation of the Department of Homeland Security that is supposed to be the central department that oversees all the law enforcement and intelligence gathering services.

We’ve been in two wars as a result of 9-11, our current president authorized the killing of the man behind the terrorist organization that committed the acts of terror.

A memorial service in Shanksville, PA, honoring the men and women who stopped Flight 93 from hitting another building in Washington, D.C.
A memorial service in Shanksville, PA, honoring the men and women who stopped Flight 93 from hitting another building in Washington, D.C.

Many changes to our society, none more so than we suddenly became hyper-nationalistic, using the term “patriotic” as a weapon against those we disagree with politically or socially. And that nationalism has been fueled by fear. We have become a fearful nation, ruled by it to such an extent we have been willing to let the government trample on our civil liberties and privacy, all in the name of security. The NSA wiretapping being just one example, the broader and looser requirements of the FISA Court — the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that allows law enforcement to get extremely secret search warrants with little or no adherence to the 4th Amendment in the Bill of Rights: “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” — Cornell University Law School.

The definition of “probable cause” has been so watered down just about any word or phrase can be used as probable cause. For a while after 9-11 just being Muslim was probable cause and to this day people are kicked of flights just for speaking Arabic or wearing a hijab.

But on this day we push all that aside and devote our thoughts to the victims and their loved ones, people who lost someone as a result of 9-11. A new World Trade Center has opened, along with a memorial and museum devoted to the attacks in New York City, the Pentagon and the courageous passengers who brought Flight 93 down in Pennsylvania; a place where all Americans — and other visitors — can pay their respects to those we lost 15 years ago today.

Maybe we can let go of our partisanship for today and remember we are one America.

Photos via Wikipedia