- FUN FEATURES
The following editorial appeared in the September 8, 2011 edition of The Cheshire Herald:
*We live in a world of hyperbole. The immediacy of information and cultural lack of attention span makes sure that every event is billed as the “biggest,” every moment the “best” or “worst” of all time, that is until the next “biggest” thing comes along. But, to say that the world changed a decade ago borders on downplaying the affect of the event.
It's hard to fathom that a young generation, right now in schools across Cheshire, will only know about 9/11 through history books and archival footage. If and when they venture down to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, they will have the same detached emotion towards those events that the rest of us do towards Gettysburg. We appreciate the history, are fascinated by the stories, but there is no personal connection.
For those who lived through that day, no museum or book is needed. It is a part of who we are, how we view the world, and if we strain hard enough we can remember what is was like before the threat of terrorism was our constant companion.
So much has happened in the last 10 years we sometimes lose sight of not only what happened that September day, but also what the days and months afterwards were like. The question wasn't whether America would be attacked again. The question was when, and by what means. The nation was prepared for the worst — a constant barage of bombs going off, of dead civilians in the streets, the victims of crazed extremists ready to die for their warped cause. Americans were warned that this would be our future.
Yet, those attacks never came. The police state many envisioned, the killing of innocents as a matter of course never materialized. And someone, somewhere has to be applauded for that.
Right after the 9/11 attacks, there was a lot of blame to go around, and much of it was directed at the intelligence community of our nation. How could they have let 19 hijackers commandeer commercial planes and fly them into buildings in a coordinated effort that must have taken months, if not years, to plan? How could no one know about that, and why was the intelligence community in the dark?
That criticism was warranted, but so must our applause as a nation be now. For 10 years, America has avoided the type of devastation we saw on 9/11. For a decade, we, as a people, have been kept safe by our military and intelligence operatives, many of whom know that they will never receive any accolades or recognition for saving lives.
Yes, the nation has narrowly missed more catastrophes. Had the Shoe Bomber put together a more sophisticated device, had the Christmas Day bomber not been stopped in the midst of his attempt, and had the Times Square bomber connected just a few more wires, more innocent lives would have been lost in the name of one group's mania. But, the reason the terrorist attacks went from frighteningly sophisticated to bumbling, from involving multiple people to single madmen, was because of the work the men and women assigned to protect us put into disrupting and destroying the infastructure that allowed 9/11 to take place.
On this 10-year anniversary of September 11, let's not only remember the day itself and those who died. Let's remember what could have been, and what turned out to be. Let's remember the people who made sure that 9/11 was a stand-alone event, not the beginning of a longer, darker road.*